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Brown apologizes to his Lakers teammates
Kwame Brown apologized to teammates after his turnover-filled debacle that drew a series of boos in the Lakers' loss Thursday against Phoenix.
Brown, speaking to reporters Saturday for the first time since the Lakers' one-sided 106-98 loss to the Suns, acknowledged going "into a shell" after hearing fans' reactions to his struggles.
He had seven turnovers, four as the booing escalated in the third quarter, and missed numerous shots from close range, including a dunk, two layups and a hook shot. He finished with eight points and six rebounds and did not play in the fourth quarter.
"I apologized to Kobe [Bryant] and my teammates," Brown said. "They tried to pick me up and I just kept making turnovers and playing hot potato with the ball. There's no excuse for the dunks that I missed. I've just got to get up and finish them. The explosion is not there like it used to be. If I can't dunk it, I've got to make the layup at least. There's no excuse for that."
Brown, 25, is in the last season of a three-year contract worth $24.9 million and sat out 19 games because of a sprained left knee and ankle. He has been back for 10 games and has averaged nine points, eight rebounds and 4.5 turnovers in the two games since Andrew Bynum's knee injury.
It was extremely rare to hear Lakers fans boo a player from the team they follow.
"I'm just real disappointed in myself for reacting to it the way I did," Brown said. "Fans are going to be fans, but my top priority is my teammates and my coaches. I kind of went into a shell a little bit and didn't carry the threat of a shot even when they kept giving it to me. I'll take the blame for that. The confidence wasn't there."
Brown said he was initially confused by the crowd's reaction.
"I actually didn't start off too bad," he said. "I missed my first jump shot and they started booing from there, which was a little weird. I guess they're still panicking from the reaction of losing Andrew. It was an unfortunate situation because we definitely were in that ballgame and came back."
Numerous teammates came to Brown's defense, including Bryant, who said fans could stay home if they wanted to boo Brown.
Brown arrived early for Saturday's short practice and worked on his post moves with special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He also spoke briefly with Coach Phil Jackson.
"I just mentioned the fact that I was not surprised how supportive his teammates were," Jackson said. "We know how well he can play. It's a difficult atmosphere and we expect him to come back and play well on Monday."
The Lakers play Denver that night at Staples Center. The Nuggets' center is Marcus Camby, last season's NBA defensive player of the year.
"Next game, I'm going to still come out and try to pass the ball and move the ball around, but I've definitely got to be more active, punch one in and whatever move I make -- make or miss -- I'm going to be aggressive with it," Brown said.
Jackson expressed disappointment at the Lakers' overall effort against the Suns. The Lakers never led and trailed by as many as 20 points.
"The last two big games that we've had, which was Phoenix and Boston, both of them we laid eggs in," Jackson said. "That was disappointing to me that we didn't match either team in the intensity that we had to bring in those two games. That's indicative of something."
The Lakers lost to Boston, 110-91, on Dec. 30.