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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Practice Report: Brewer looks to beat slump

By Jared Zwerling



GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Ronnie Brewer wasn't done at the conclusion of Saturday's light practice. He went through his own 30-minute halfcourt workout, which consisted of 3-point shooting, conditioning and cone drills to build quickness and explosiveness to the rim.

Brewer knows he's hit a recent wall -- he's averaging 3.6 points and shooting 18.2 percent from 3-point range in December (compared to 41.2 percent in November) -- and wants to put in additional time.

Ronnie Brewer
Ronnie Brewer has struggled with his shooting in December.
"We have a lot of games in a short period of time, so you have to stay sharp," he said. "When you're struggling in a game, you've got to put the extra work in, and I think that's what a lot of guys are trying to do, especially myself."

Brewer returned this season from a medial meniscus tear in his left knee, but he said his recent slump has nothing to do with his health. It's related to his game and mental approach. He said if one shot hasn't been falling, he's hesitating a bit to take the next one, so he's been working with Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla and assistant Darrell Walker to correct his mistakes and develop positive repetitions.

"I'm not shooting the ball like I wanted to right now," he said. "It's been a tough stretch, but it's something you've just got to fight through, you've got to stay positive, you've got to keep your confidence and I've just got to get back to playing like I did early in the season."

Brewer said the Knicks' spread-out offense is different from the flex offense of his previous teams, Utah and Chicago.

"Here, some of the open gaps are the corner 3s and the mid 3s and midrange. So you've just got to shoot the ball," he said. "That's what coach has been telling me, 'Shoot it, no matter what defenses are doing and what fans might say. You've just got to play with confidence,' and that's what I try to do."

PRIGIONI PUTS IN EXTRA WORK: While Brewer was on one half court, Pablo Prigioni was on the other side, working with Hopla and a trainer on pick-and-roll and attacking moves. In one drill, Prigioni would jump up a few times to touch the backboard, then sprint to the perimeter, catch the ball and then drive in for the one-handed dunk.

"I try to work on my shot when they go under, if they give me a chance to shoot, I need to take that shot and make it," he told ESPNNewYork.com. "So I need to work every day and also, if they play deep and if I need to attack the basket, the same. I need to work on my legs to go to the basket. I try to improve everything."

Prigioni said the biggest adjustment he's had to make running pick-and-rolls in the NBA season is reacting to the opponent.

"I play pick-and-roll so many times in so many years, but the interesting thing is how the other team defends," he said. "Depending on how they defend, then you must react, you must take advantage. Every team uses a different defense. Sometimes the big guys are staying up, sometimes they trap, sometimes they switch, so the nice thing is you try to read and then try to get the advantage."

On Sunday against the Timberwolves, Prigioni will be facing point guard Ricky Rubio once again. They went head-to-head for many years in Spanish club basketball before Rubio joined Minnesota last year. Prigioni always knew the 22-year-old had potential.

"Yeah, of course, since he started playing in Spain very young," he said. "He started to show all his basketball skills. He tried to find his teammates all the time with incredible passes. He's a good player."

WOODY REFLECTS ON EJECTION: Woodson regretted getting thrown out of the Bulls game Friday night.

"In the heat of the moment, we all get caught up in the moment," he said. "I've got to do better myself. I can't be getting thrown out of games, tossed, because I've got to be there for our team. That's what I meant last night by bad coaching. You can't do that."

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