NEW YORK — Elton Brand looked more like a football player than a power forward Tuesday against the New York Knicks. He had a heavy pad covering the golf ball-sized bruise on his left hip. He also wore a protective sleeve on his sore right elbow and another one over his right knee.
But there was no way he wasn't going to play at Madison Square Garden, in front of numerous friends and family who made the trip into the city from suburban Peekskill, N.Y.
And, certainly, he wasn't about to sit out after his Peekskill High jersey was retired during a ceremony that included New York Gov. George Pataki at halftime of the Red Devils' game Monday against Beacon.
When Brand was introduced as a starter Tuesday, the sellout crowd greeted him with a warm ovation.
Once the game began, it was evident that Brand was not at his best. But he still scored 17 points and took 14 rebounds (for his 34th double-double this season and 13th in his last 15 games). He also dived for a loose ball late in the game, landing heavily on his right hip.
"When you come to this building and you are a New York kid, it doesn't matter if you are from Buffalo or Peekskill, you want to play," Clipper Coach Alvin Gentry said. "He's a warrior. He's added so much to our team."
Brand admitted that his hip slowed him Tuesday. At halftime, however, he took off the pad because it was too restrictive.
"It felt better," said Brand, who did not play in Sunday's loss against the Boston Celtics. "I don't like sitting out. I want to play. If I could run, I could play.... It just felt good to win. You always watch the Knicks growing up and you idolize the Knicks. It feels good to beat them."
Center Michael Olowokandi had five teeth loosened or damaged when Boston's Antoine Walker accidentally struck him while attempting a dunk Sunday.
Emergency repairs were made Monday in New York, but Olowokandi will require a longer visit to the dentist when the team returns to Los Angeles after playing Thursday against the Pistons in Detroit.
From the It Could Happen Only in New York file: The Clippers' bus left their midtown Manhattan hotel at 10 a.m. for the morning shoot-around some 30 blocks away at Madison Square Garden and arrived 41 minutes later. A reporter leaving the same hotel at the same time walked the same distance in only 36 minutes, prompting howls of laughter from Gentry and assistant Dennis Johnson.