NEW ORLEANS -- With his loved ones in the Smoothie King Center stands, seeing him lace up his sneakers in a real game in his native state for the first time in years, Markel Brown wasn't about to pass up his shot at putting on a show.
So when Brown collected a steal in the first quarter of Wednesday night's 102-96 loss to the Pelicans near midcourt and saw no one was near him as he was trailed by only Alexis Ajinca, the rookie essentially pretended he was in the dunk contest and took flight, throwing down a nasty 360 that got a rise of his supporters.
But really though, precisely when did he make up his mind about the specific dunk he was going to execute?
"I actually was still making it up . . . [to] almost when I was at the rim," Brown said. "You see how I almost over jumped it, but I just knew that when I got on the break I had to do something."
Asked if coach Lionel Hollins had anything to say when he got to the bench during the next timeout, Brown said laughing: "No, he didn't. And I didn't look at him."
Brown had more than 70 people make three-plus hour trek from his hometown of Alexandria, La. and was thrilled to get his second career start in his home state.
Rare company for Joe
Joe Johnson become only the 63rd player in league history -- and the 10th active player -- to top 18,000 career points. He also joined Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter and Dale Ellis as the lone ones to score 18,000 career points and nail at least 1,600 three-pointers.
"I'm just working hard to try to help this team win," Johnson said. "I'm not necessarily worried about any stats, but it's an honor because a lot plays into that, scoring 18,000 points."