Reporting from Sacramento – The Lakers needed someone to step into a void, to step up and make some shots, and to dig down and play defense.
That someone was Shannon Brown.
He came up big-time for the Lakers — on offense, on defense, on whatever the Lakers needed.
And because of Brown’s play, the Lakers were able to escape with a 112-103 double-overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night at Arco Arena.
“I think the guys have a lot of confidence in me,” Brown said. “With our team being so deep as it is, everybody gets a chance to show their stuff at different times. But I think everybody has a lot of confidence in each other.”
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had a lot of faith in Brown.
And Brown rewarded Jackson and the Lakers by scoring 15 points off the bench, by grabbing seven rebounds, by playing 28 minutes and by playing solid defense on Kings rookie guard Tyreke Evans.
Jackson had to turn to Brown to become a primary defender because Ron Artest was home with a concussion.
“Shannon was good tonight,” Jackson said. “He was a guy size-wise that could play a guy like Evans, and we needed that size and strength to be able to play him.”
Jackson also needed someone to provide some offense in the fourth quarter after Kobe Bryant suffered a strained right elbow at the end of the third.
Brown became that guy too.
Brown had eight points in the fourth quarter. He also had four rebounds.
His three-pointer from the corner midway through the fourth gave the Lakers an 87-86 lead.
Brown dribbled into lane later in the fourth after getting a pass from Bryant and made a hanging shot that he was fouled on.
Brown turned a flip on his head. Then Bryant ran over to embrace him.
Brown made the free throw for a three-point play.
“Those shots were in rhythm with what was going on out there,” Brown said. “That’s how we like to do it. That’s how we are successful.”
At 6-4, 210 pounds, Brown has the size and strength Jackson spoke of to deal with the 6-6, 220-pound Evans.
That’s why late in the game Jackson put Brown on Evans.
“He played very well,” Bryant said about Brown. “He has the potential to be a very good defensive player. He has the body to do it, the athleticism to do it.”
Brown played all 12 minutes in the fourth, all but 12 seconds of the five-minute first overtime and all but 1 minute 1 second of the second overtime.
He made big shots and he played big-time defense.
“I’m not worried about that. He can hit shots. He can score the ball. I see that every day in practice. He can do that,” Bryant said. “So that doesn’t impress me at all. His defense is what impresses me.”