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MarShon Brooks keeps working toward more playing time

MarShon Brooks goes to the hoop for a

MarShon Brooks goes to the hoop for a layup against Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls in the first half of a game at Barclays Center. (Feb. 1, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

For the better part of this season, no matter if it's been Avery Johnson or P.J. Carlesimo coaching, MarShon Brooks has found himself in a position he's not accustomed to.

The second-year guard usually is on the bench, aside from spot minutes here and there. He came through with 13 points in 20:41 in the Nets' 93-89 win over the Bulls on Friday, but more often than not, the only real time he gets to play is practice.

"It's very tough," Brooks said. "It's very tough to get into a rhythm when you don't play. This is the longest I've ever not played basketball, is when I'm missing games. We don't practice too often. So it's tough. But it's all right."

Brooks averages 11.6 minutes per game, much less than the 29.4 minutes of his rookie season, when he started 47 games and averaged 12.6 points a night.

"I think it's a tough situation to be in where you just kind of have to produce when you're thrown out there," Deron Williams said after Friday's game. "But that's part of being a professional. That's part of growing up and learning."

A scorer who's used to having the ball in his hands, Brooks admits his defense has to improve. At times, he also struggles with the small things, and he knows he has to hustle more. If he wants more game action, he realizes he has to develop consistency in those areas.

As he works toward that, he'll continue leaning on the encouragement of his teammates.

"I've been down because of my lack of minutes, especially early," Brooks said. "I would have liked more of a chance to help the team. But the guys see me down, they say, 'Your day is going to come, don't worry about it. Just be ready when your day does come.' "

The way it did Friday.

Mr. 5,000

Williams needs seven more assists to get to 5,000 for his career. He'd become only the seventh player since the 1985-86 season to collect that many assists in fewer than 600 games played. He's appeared in 552 contests.

The others who've done it: Jason Kidd, Muggsy Bogues, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, John Stockton and Chris Paul.

"It's a good number to have," Williams said. "I don't know how many guys have 5,000 assists. But yeah, it means something."

New York Sports