Around The Cooler - Grand Brand Performance
Grand Brand Performance
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By Dave Callanan, Clippers.com
Posted: 11:07 am PST | February 20th, 2006
Sorry IBM: I think we need to start calling Elton Brand "E-Business." The Clippers' All Star gave a stellar workman-like effort in Sunday's All Star game by posting 12 points on 6 of 11 shooting and snatching 7 rebounds. He set tough screens, dove for loose balls and stuck perimeter jumpers left and right for the Western Conference squad.
But what happened to the All Star MVP award? I had outlined a genius game plan for Elton on Saturday, but he wasn't the one holding the trophy after the final buzzer sounded. Even Charles Barkley, who must be an avid reader of Clippers.com, tabbed Brand as a potential MVP pick in the pre-game show, but some kid from Cleveland ended up with the award.
Obviously, the problem wasn't with Around The Cooler, so let's take a long hard look at how Elton fared with my advice:
#1 - Tell Nash that you think his hair looks really good.
Grade: A - It was apparent that Elton was on the good side of the Suns' point guard on Sunday, as Nash kept his eye open for EB quite a bit. On one play in particular, Nash passed up an open baseline five footer and lobbed it to Brand for the lay-in. So don't be surprised if you see Elton and Nash chillin' at Roy's Downtown when Phoenix next comes to town.
#2 - Break out that one move.
Grade: B - Although no trick plays were pulled out of the Elton Brand playbook, he gets high marks for his just-plain-nasty-spin-and-dunk on LeBron James in the second half. Check out the Clippers.com desktop wallpaper of that move [ 1280x960 | 1024x768 | 800x600 ] as the picture is awesome---Yao is laughing, LeBron is frustrated and Brand is bringing back James Worthy's "Statue of Liberty" style.
On a side note, the trick move of the game definitely went to Shaq for his free throw alley oop jam. It wasn't legal, but it was comedy. In honorable mention, I gotta recognize both East and West starters for their pregame intro dance moves. I enjoyed the pass-it-along homage to breakdancing by the West, but the East had everyone believing that Bell Biv Devoe was about to take the stage. Advantage: East.
#3 - Destroy the offensive glass.
Grade: C - I know, I know---three of Elton's seven boards were offensive, but I'm gonna be harsh here as I really thought #42 would have 10 o-boards by halftime. Granted, Avery Johnson gave him the second-least amount of playing time, but I still think EB could have pulled down at least three or four more offensive rebounds.
#4 - Shoot at least one jumper from beyond the arc.
Grade: A - In hindsight, this was by far the stupidest piece of advice I could have given. Hence, I give Brand an "A" for not listening to me. We all know he could hit a 3PT FG, but what's the point?
#5 - Have fun out there.
Grade: A+ - Honestly, was there a single player out there who was having more fun that the Clippers' All Star? I recognize that I may be a bit biased, but EB was constantly laughing, smiling and working hard on every play. I personally think that Coach Johnson limited Brand's PT because he was afraid that his enjoyment for the game could have translated into MVP-type numbers, and winning such an award would have buoyed Elton into a monster night against Dallas in his first post-All Star contest. It was an All Star conspiracy! Somebody call Oliver Stone!
OK....I actually don't really believe a single word of that, but controversy sells. I don't want Around The Cooler to get too bland....
So while it was LBJ, not EB, doing shoulder presses with the MVP trophy on Sunday night, I still think that it was a heckofa show by Elton. Even though he didn't follow all of my All Star bits of wisdom, I know everyone in the ClipperNation is proud of his performance. Can't wait to see what he and his teammates have in store for the second half of 2005-06!