Updated: November 24, 2010, 10:17 AM ET

1. Brown Gives The Lakers Another Option

By J.A. Adande
ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- It used to be the explanation for the Lakers turning close games against hungry young teams into victories could be distilled down to two words: Kobe Bryant.

It takes more characters than could fit in a tweet to describe everything that the Lakers have going for them right now. The simplest answer is to say they have a greater array of good players than perhaps any other team right now, and the best of the good is Shannon Brown.

The Bulls had the spectacular superstar in this 98-91 Lakers victory Tuesday night. His name was Derrick Rose. Rose went around and over the Lakers -- and at one point he just went away from Bryant, so abruptly that the Staples Center crowd gasped. Rose had 30 points and eight assists, but guess who matched his 18-point first-half output?

That's right, Brown.

Now, among the things that separate the pleasant developments from emerging stars is extended playing time and consistent production. Brown sat most of the third quarter and made only one more field goal. But along with fellow reserves Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, Brown played the entire fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 7:48 remaining gave the Lakers the lead for good, kicked off the decisive 17-2 run and gave him 21 points to match Lamar Odom for team-high honors.

It's getting to the point that every time Brown shoots you expect it to go in. He made 7 of 14 shots Tuesday, including 5 of 10 3-pointers, including a long 3 at the end of the first quarter in the face of an onrushing Ronnie Brewer that left Brewer shaking his head in amazement. Brown's night was right in line with a season in which he has made 52 percent of his shots this season and just over half his 3-pointers, averaging 12 points in 19 minutes.

On an appearance on ESPN radio in Los Angeles on Monday, Blake said the thing he noticed about Brown's shot is how it looks the same every time. Brown said it's the product of all the repetitions from his summer of shooting, a more consistent form even if it means reining in some of his leaping ability on the way up. You can tell Bryant appreciates the work Brown put in. He looks for Brown -- even goes out of his way to set screens for Brown -- and discusses strategy to the point their perspectives have merged.

"I see what he sees," Brown says.

For his sake, I wish Brown had played this well last season, so he could have hit the free-agent market and collected one of the ridiculous contracts that were tossed around over the summer. Instead he re-signed with the Lakers on a two-year contract worth $2.2 million this year with a player option for $2.4 million next year. He needs to test the market again next year, but what will the landscape look like under the next collective bargaining agreement -- if one is reached at all? Any regrets for flourishing a little too late?

"I do, always," Brown said. "But I turned down dollars [elsewhere], so."

So the Lakers benefited. He gives them instant offense. He gives them depth. He helps provide them with numerous options, more so than the Bulls. More and more, teams have to account for Brown on defense.

"If they do, gotta go to Plan B," Brown said.

B for Bryant? Not quite. But Bryant did play more of a decoy role Tuesday night, especially when the Lakers outscored the Bulls 24-18 in the fourth quarter. Each team wound up with similar defensive strategies to counter different attacks. The Lakers packed the lane in an attempt to stop Rose's penetration, the Bulls' defense was drawn in by the post-up threats of Bryant and Pau Gasol. In either case it meant open outside shooters. The difference: Barnes, Blake and Brown made nine of their 17 3-point shots, and the entire Bulls team shot 4-for-20 from 3-point range.

After a fan-led campaign got Brown in the dunk contest last year, Brown is a legitimate candidate to join Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler and Michael Cooper as players who have participated in both the dunk contest and 3-point shootout. Time for letshannonshoot.com?

"Why not?" Brown said.


Dimes past: Nov. 5 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19-21 | 22 | 23

2. If The Celtics Cruise, They Lose

By Peter May
ESPN Boston
Rivers
Rivers

BOSTON -- Doc Rivers has seen it from both sides. Early in his Boston incarnation, he had a team of callow kids and could never be sure which group would show up from game to game. He now has the opposite of that, sort of. It's a veteran team. It's a better team, for sure, but because veteran teams have a tendency to, er, coast, the coach also can't know for sure what group he will see on any given night.

To wit: What Boston Celtics fan out there didn't expect this team to go into Toronto on Sunday afternoon and absolutely vaporize the undermanned, underwhelming Raptors, regardless of Rajon Rondo's status? There had been a disheartening loss on Friday at home, an easy-pickin's opponent on the road (and in a building where they'd won six in a row) and, well, of course they'd bounce back. Hold that happy thought.

It didn't happen. They lost. They stunk.

To read more from May, click here.

3. Daily Dime Live Recap

ESPN.com writers and TrueHoop Network bloggers chatted with fans and gave their in-game opinions throughout Tuesday's games -- all in Daily Dime Live.

4. Granger Knocks Down A Handful Of Treys

Elias Sports Bureau

Danny Granger made five 3-pointers in the Pacers' win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. It was the fifth time this season that Granger made at least four baskets beyond the arc, tying him with Stephen Jackson for the most such games in the NBA.

More from Elias

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