Shannon Brown Sparks Lakers Off the Bench

Back on March 1st, before a game in Phoenix against the Suns, Shannon Brown sat quietly in front of his locker next to Adam Morrison, while the media chatted up his more well-known teammates. It had been less than a month since he and Morrison joined the Lakers via the trade that sent Vladimir Radmanovic out of town, and after appearing in just three of the Lakers' 10 games since he arrived -- and never for more than six minutes -- there simply wasn't much to talk about.

How quickly things have changed. Here we are, just over six weeks later, and Brown found himself mobbed by more than 40 media members, after he played some big minutes during the Lakers' Game 1 playoff victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Brown has played his way ahead of Jordan Farmar in the Lakers' rotation, so when Derek Fisher left just two and a half minutes into the game with two early fouls, Brown was the one that came in to run with the rest of the starters. He made an immediate impact, hitting two big three-pointers to help the Lakers jump on the Jazz, and get out to an 11-point first quarter lead that they would never relinquish. Brown finished with nine points in 21 minutes of action, and went 3-for-3 from behind the arc on the afternoon.

Lamar Odom was one of several Lakers to sing Brown's praises afterwards.

"Smart," Odom said, in describing what Brown brings to the table. "Shoots the three, I think he handles and shoots better than anybody expected, who hasn't seen him play. And his disposition and tenacity is great, it's exactly what the second unit needs."

Kobe Bryant said that Brown's work in practice is what has led to his ability to produce on the court when it counts.

"Shannon works extremely hard, as all our players do," Bryant said. "He gets in the gym early, he's working on his shot, and when I see that, it makes it a little easier for me to trust him in a game situation."

Brown himself echoed the part about putting in extended practice time, and attributed that to his ability to play with confidence.

"Just going out and practicing before practice, shooting after practice, going in and getting repetitions," Brown said. "That's how you gain confidence."

"You've got to have confidence in your abilities, especially in this game," Brown continued. "Because if you don't, you'll get eaten alive out there. It's a bunch of wolves out there. So you've just got to come out, and do what you've got to do."

If Brown can continue his strong play off the bench, he and the Lakers will be the ones doing the feasting.

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