Markel Brown is experiencing a different kind of March Madness right about now.

The Nets rookie scored a career-high 17 points in Sunday's win over the Lakers, cracking double figures for only the second time since Feb. 27. Brown, making his 19th straight start at shooting guard, has been inconsistent lately. But he shot 6-for-11, taking his jumper with conviction, and that led to a nasty, highlight-reel baseline dunk.

"He made shots and he was aggressive," coach Lionel Hollins said. "Yesterday at practice, he was really shooting the ball well and I just walked over to him and told him, 'You've got to shoot with that kind of confidence in the game. Just play. If they put someone that can't guard you on you, drive to the basket and make a play, whether it's scoring or not.' He came out and played that way and it was good to see."

Brown believes he's steadily improving. "I feel like I've grown a lot, especially in the first part [of the season]," he said. "Just sitting down and watching all those guys in front of me, and taking bits and pieces of their game and after the break just being able to step up my opportunity and learning from each start that I'm getting."

Anderson's Sparty partyThe NCAA regional final between Michigan State and Louisville took place at the same time as the Nets' game against the Lakers, and it was Thaddeus Young who delivered the results to Alan Anderson, a Michigan State man, on the Nets' bench.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"He was like, 'Man, they lost,' " Anderson said. "I stood up and said, 'What?!' He was like, 'Naw, nah, I'm playing.' "

Anderson, who had nine points and three rebounds, insisted his head was always in the Nets' game.

"It's not distracting," said Anderson, who kept screaming "Sparta!" in the locker room. "I know what my job is, but I'm a Spartan all day. So it's not hard at all."