Marreese Speights was first, earlier in the week. Then, Elton Brand. By yesterday's 76ers practice, six members of the second unit were wearing headbands.

"Fridays are officially unity days," second-unit guard Lou Williams said. "That's how we're going to rock and roll on Fridays for the White [second] team. It just snowballed."

Both Williams and Brand insisted the second unit won in yesterday's scrimmaging at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, but that's only part of the second unit's goal.

"Our goal is to challenge the first team, try to get them as prepared as we can," Williams said. "To do that, we've got to get up and run. We know we have more energy than those [starters], obviously because of our [fewer] minutes. We just try to beat them up and down the court.

"Once we beat them, we start talkin'. That gets them going; that's our way of getting them ready."

Williams knows Brand is merely a temporary member of the second unit. Coach Tony DiLeo has said Brand, returning tonight against the New York Knicks after missing 16 games with a dislocated right shoulder, will initially come off the bench and play in short bursts before resuming his role as the starting power forward.

Asked whether Brand might have profited from the opportunity watch his teammates play, DiLeo said: "Personally, I think the time on the court would have been more valuable, because early in the season, there was a problem with the transition. I think the time on the court is sorely missed. That was the situation we had to deal with. We'll start from now." *