CHICAGO - MarShon Brooks feels like the running back who finally gets to carry the ball when it is fourth down and his team is on its own 1-yard line. He seems to get into Nets games only through desperation, which, he knows, is better than not getting in at all.
"It's tough, but it's the job," he said Friday, before the Nets had a team meeting at their downtown hotel in preparation for Game 4 in their series against the Bulls this afternoon. Brooks played 12 minutes in the Game 3 loss as his team was desperate for anyone who could enkindle an offense that missed 25 of 26 shots in one stretch.
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"It seems like I'm the last resort, honestly," he said. "If things aren't going well for the team, throw MarShon out there. That's been the rhythm all year. I kind of know when my name is going to be called, in a sense."
The issue, like his situation, has been the same all season. Even though he is one of the team's more skilled offensive players, the Nets do not believe he prevents more than he scores.
"Defensively . . . that's always going to be a point of emphasis with him," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
Nonetheless, the coach stayed with Brooks on Thursday and said his contribution was better than his statistics (two points, 1-for-3 shooting) indicated. "He opened the floor, he beat some people off the dribble and he created some looks for other people. It was good."
The Nets, down 2-1, might need him to play more, and earlier, Saturday. And in the future, his development could be one of the few places in which the veteran, salary-cap limited club can improve.
"On this team, for whatever reason, I haven't had the chance to play regular minutes consistently. Maybe one game here, one game there," Brooks said. "But I don't think I've played consistent minutes five games in a row all year. It's tough, but that's the way it is.
"The time it's toughest is when you're upset. Then you're playing against yourself because you're so mad. That's where I feel I've matured this year. I'm thrown into these situations and I just play within the game instead of trying to go out there and be Superman," he said. "I believe in myself, man. I know I can play. I'll just continue to work on my craft. Throughout this tough year, I still feel I got better."