Basketball

Morrison could grab more playing time

Matt Carroll figures to get the start tonight for the Charlotte Bobcats in Jason Richardson's absence, but Adam Morrison might get the most run out of Richardson missing a couple of games with an inflamed right knee.

Morrison seems to be regaining some of the offensive creativity that made him the No.3 pick out of Gonzaga in 2006. He scored 12 points in the first half against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, making four of five shots.

Three of those baskets were the sort of runners and tear-drop shots that made him so hard to guard in college. He didn't play last season, out with a left knee injury, and was basically a stand-still jump shooter as a rookie.

“I think I'm better moving around, instead of just being a spot-up jump shooter,'' said Morrison. “I'd never really played that way. When I'm moving, I shoot a better percentage whether it's shooting off screens or driving.''

Bobcats coach Larry Brown is encouraging Morrison to move even more. The challenge is raising his teammates' awareness of how Morrison creates shot opportunities.

“Eventually, plays break down and then you've just got to play basketball, and you hope everybody plays with the IQ he has,'' Brown said. “I don't know if we have a lot of guys who have that feel'' for the game.

Part of the problem, Brown said, is the lack of a dominant inside scorer to open the perimeter.

“(Morrison) knows where he should be when the ball moves,'' Brown said. “If he was on a team with a (Shaquille O'Neal) or a (Tim) Duncan, and you spotted him up to stretch the defense, by accident he'd average 20.”

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Brown says he feels 68 only when he looks in the mirror. Tonight he'll face one of his few peers in NBA experience, in Utah's Jerry Sloan.

Sloan is 66 and just ahead of Brown on the all-time coaching victories list. Sloan is No.4, at 1,095 and Brown is No.5 at 1,012. The difference is Brown is coaching his ninth NBA franchise and Sloan just reached 1,000 wins with the Jazz (after previously coaching the Chicago Bulls).

Occasionally Brown's cultural references betray his generation. At Wednesday's practice, Brown told his players they get in trouble when they play “like Laverne and Shirley.''

“Laverne and Shirley'' was a slapstick comedy about two women working in a Milwaukee brewery. The show lasted eight seasons before being cancelled in 1983.

The oldest Bobcat, Nazr Mohammed, was six in 1983. Nine others weren't born yet.

“Hey,'' Brown joked of his TV analogies, “they don't even know who the Fonz is!''

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