The matchup between Sixers forward Elton Brand and the Heat’s Chris Bosh is a contrast in styles. Where Bosh is more of a finesse forward who will step out of the paint to knock down shots, Brand is a hard hat guy who wants to bang, scratch and claw for his.
Brand is enjoying his best season since his 2006-07 season with the Clippers, (prior to the Achilles injury) Brand leads the Sixers in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots. He has played in 81 of 82 games, his most in four seasons. He has been playing with a fractured left hand (non-shooting) for the past month and despite a slight dip in his numbers in the month, he has averaged 17 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks in the past 10 games. Brand’s willingness to play as the Sixers made their playoff push
proved invaluable – in my opinion cementing him as the unquestioned leader of this team.
The celebrated “third wheel” in the Miami marriage, Chris Bosh had a decent first season in Miami. He was able to survive the jelling period with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, he was a reserve for the East All-Stars and helped the Heat finish #2 in the Eastern Conference. Despite the drop off in scoring, rebounds and blocks, Bosh has been integral to the success of the Heat. He only missed five games this season (seemed like more for some reason) and is averaging 20 points and 8 boards in his last 10 games. Bosh,
along with James and Wade should be well rested for the matchup with the Sixers.
I expect Brand to initiate the physicality in this matchup as he should. He’s not going to get Bosh into foul trouble by shooting 15 footers. He must work in the paint to keep Bosh on his toes defensively. Surprisingly, the Miami power forward isn’t much of a shot blocker, whether it’s due to his timing or conservative play, I’m not sure.
If Bosh is going to play a perimeter game, Brand can ill afford any cheap fouls. Challenge the shot, but keep space in between (especially in Games 1&2). The hope here is that if Bosh looks to put the ball on the floor, someone is there to disrupt his dribble.
Brand’s injured hand has not, and hopefully will not hinder him in this series, I think Brand can win this matchup with his physical play alone. I don’t see Bosh as a guy who wants to mix it up, but Brand needs to simply play his game and stay under control