3.16.2009

Dee Brown Making his Mark

1990-91 Boston Celtics
Remembering the 29-5 Start


He scored a season-high 18 points Friday night against Washington, just one week after his previous high of 14 against Sacramento. On Monday night, he was 5 for 6 in the runaway over Seattle, including some open jump shots in the 20-foot range.

Celtics rookie guard and No. 1 pick Dee Brown is in-Dee-d in the offensive flow these days. He was in double figures just once in the first 10 games, but has done it three times in his last six starts even as his shooting percentage has dramatically improved since the Sacramento game.

According to teammate Reggie Lewis, that makes the high-flying Celtics an even better basketball team. "When Dee gets his offensive game going," said Lewis, "it opens things up for everyone else. When the other team has to pay more attention to Dee, they can't double-team as much. It opens the whole court up and spreads the offense, and that makes us more effective."

Brown said after yesterday morning's practice at the Garden that he was reluctant to come out firing when the season began. "I was more concerned as a rookie point guard with getting other people into the flow of the game," he said. "Right now, I'm doing things more instinctively. The ball kicks out, and if the guy doesn't run out at me, I'll shoot it.

"If they leave me alone and I don't shoot, I think that would get coaches angrier than if I shot and missed -- and if you miss, well, you've got to keep at it and I'm more comfortable about that." Brown said he always had confidence in his jumper, but that he had to get more acquainted with the Celtics' offense and his new teammates in the very early going.

"I just had to get into the flow of the game," he said. "Teams are really starting to double down on Kevin (McHale) and Larry (Bird) now because they do so much with the ball. I'm glad I can take some offensive pressure off those two guys if they kick it off to me." Coach Chris Ford said that ever since the Sacramento game, Brown has been in a groove. "When he comes off picks now, he's looking for a shot if it's there," said Ford, who doesn't want his team to forget about the other end of the floor tonight
with the Denver Nuggets in town.

"You can get caught up with just playing offense and forgetting about defense," said Ford. "When we played them in the preseason, I told the guys, you're going to get layups and dunks, but I didn't want them to get those kind of shots. I wanted us to play defense. When you play Denver, you know you're going to get a lot of running in, so a lot of guys will get some minutes.

"It's always a scary game, because if you get caught up in that running game and decide not to play any defense and if you start kicking the ball over to them, you're going to be in for a long night." Brown agrees. "You've got to keep things under control," he said. "You've got to concentrate on what you want to do and not get caught up in what they want you to do. They want you to run down court, pull up and shoot 20-foot jumpers, but that extra pass can get you an easy layup. The Catch-22 is if they miss those jumpers, then we're going to get the long rebound and go. We'll run, but it'll have to be our style and not theirs."

That style has been complemented lately by Brown's hot hand. "It took a little time for Dee to get adjusted," said Lewis, "but he's feeling more relaxed and it makes us a better team."

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