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Bruce Brown growing in stature as Nets' undersized 'center'

Nets guard Bruce Brown reacts after he scores

Nets guard Bruce Brown reacts after he scores a basket and draws a foul against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Nets guard Bruce Brown is listed at 6-4.

His coach, Steve Nash, calls him "a 6-3 guard." That’s the same coach who, on Tuesday night, used Brown as the center in the crucial minutes of the Nets’ 127-118 victory over the Kings at Barclays Center.

Brown more than prospered among the trees as the Nets’ unlikely 5. He scored a career-high 29 points, including eight of the Nets’ final 14, as Brooklyn won its seventh in a row.

"Bruce is remarkable," Nash said. "I mean, I believe he mostly played point guard last year and he's playing — what do you want to call him, our center? He’s picking and rolling and finishing with two bigs in the lane. His willingness and ability to do that is remarkable.

 

"Bruce makes it look easy. It's not easy to be a 6-3 guard and be picking, rolling, catching the ball, finishing. Bruce is special in that he can do that. It's not a normal thing to ask a 6-3 guard to kind of be the roller. His ability to do that and to finish and to have the timing and willingness . . . frankly, I know a lot of a lot of guards will laugh you out of the gym if you ask them to pick-and-roll. He's a winner. He plays hard and I think that skill is uncanny."

Said Brown: "I think I played 1 through 5 in the AAU. That's about it. Maybe in college, I played the 4 at some points, but never played the 5. I'm doing pretty well. I love the role and I'm just trying to do whatever it is for us to win. If I have to do that, then I’ll do it."

In 25 minutes, Brown shot 11 of 13, including 2-for-3 from the three-point line. After his second three in front of the opposing bench, Brown turned and gave the Kings a little shimmy.

"They were just talking crazy and it was my second one," Brown said. "You know how benches do when you’re not shooting well. You know what they say. So I had to do something."

James Harden, who had a triple-double with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, said of Brown: "Sometimes, we need him to play center, set screens and roll to the basket. He's an unbelievable cutter. And he's showed us he's capable of knocking down the three-ball."

Notes & quotes: After waiving Iman Shumpert, Andre Roberson and Noah Vonleh following Tuesday’s game, the Nets on Wednesday signed forward Tyler Cook to a 10-day contract. Cook, who has appeared in 13 NBA games, was playing for Iowa in the G League. In eight G League games this season, the 23-year-old Cook averaged 20.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Shumpert and Roberson are expected to sign new 10-day contracts with the Nets on Friday . . . Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) will miss his sixth straight game on Thursday, the team announced. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right hip contusion) is probable. Jeff Green (right shoulder contusion) and Landry Shamet (chest contusion) are questionable. Luwawu-Cabarrot and Green missed Tuesday's win over Sacramento. Shamet sat out the second half . . . Harden on being named an All-Star Game reserve: "It’s always a blessing. That means you’re doing something right. That means you've been playing extremely well up to that point, and you never want to take opportunities like that for granted. So, I'm blessed. I’m fortunate to be a part of my ninth All-Star Game."

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