The 76ers took the floor against the Washington Wizards under new coach Tony DiLeo for the first time last night at the Wachovia Center.
First-year Sixer Elton Brand scored a season-high 27 points and the Sixers snapped their three-game losing streak with a 104-89 victory.
Earlier yesterday, team president and general manager Ed Stefanski announced the dismissal of Maurice Cheeks after three-plus seasons with the Sixers. Among the reasons Stefanski gave for the change was to give the team a fresh face and new perspective.
"His face was fresh to me," Brand said of Cheeks before the game. "But maybe for some guys, a fresh face will be good."
Perhaps one of those players is center Samuel Dalembert. He helped the Sixers (10-14) with 17 rebounds and was active all night around the basket.
"I was more consistent than the past few games, and that was all about looking myself in the mirror and saying what I can do for the short period of time I am going to be on the floor," Dalembert said.
Point guard Andre Miller had 12 assists, while Lou Williams (15 points), Andre Iguodala (14), Thaddeus Young (14) and Willie Green (13) scored in double figures.
After leading by 51-40 at intermission, the Sixers took a 79-65 advantage into the fourth quarter and never trailed again as they led by as many as 18 points during the period.
"The one thing I was proud of tonight was that we kept our concentration level and focus and energy for most of the game - for most of 48 minutes," DiLeo said.
"I'm extremely grateful to our assistant coaches because they really helped me through this game, just knowing the offense and defense they put in previously."
New face or not, Brand liked the results.
"It was big game for our sake with the coaching change," Brand said. "We had some good games defensively and offensively, but this was one of the most complete games."