Broken nose doesn’t stop Nets’ Bruce Brown: ‘He’s just a winner’
A broken nose wasn’t going to break Bruce Brown.
Brooklyn’s gritty defensive-minded guard had his nose broken in practice on Monday, yet not only played Tuesday but had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help lift the Nets to a 115-107 win in Chicago.
“He’s just a winner,” coach Steve Nash said. “He plays so hard. Outstanding defensively. Rebounds the ball and when he’s able to fill in the gaps and take that soft space on the court where the other teams are focusing on other guys he really makes it difficult to defend us.”
The Nets improved to 26-8 when Brown starts, and that sort of toughness is a big reason why. He had 10 points in the second quarter alone, took another shot to the face and had to come out of the game, but returned to finish out the contest.
“He’s a solution for us,” Nash said. “He’s a Swiss Army knife, so to speak. He can guard multiple positions, he does the dirty work. His physicality and competitive nature I think are a big add to our group. He gets offensive rebounds, he can be a pick-and roll-guy. He makes the odd 3, he’s a good free-throw shooter.
“So he does a lot of things for us, and can kind of plug a lot of holes. So he’s just a really versatile player for us. And that’s not necessarily what I expected; I didn’t know a ton about him when we got him to be honest enough. It’s been fantastic to see him evolve into this role.”
Brooklyn finished the road schedule with a 20-16 mark (.556 winning percentage), the second-highest road win percentage in franchise history (23-18; .561 in 2012-13).
Second-year big Nicolas Claxton notched his first-career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench. He helped smother noted Nets-killer Nikola Vucevic — who came in averaging 26.5 points and 12.3 rebounds in four earlier meetings this season — and hold him to just 12 points on 5 of 18 shooting.