EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two games into his tenure as interim Nets coach, Tony Brown is starting to show how his style will be different from predecessor Lionel Hollins, who was fired Sunday. Brown will focus on being more positive in all situations, his players say, and he also will let his point guards have more freedom in running the offense than Hollins did.
“I think once our point guards get a better feel for what I’m looking for, as far as the pace, what we need to run in that frame — I won’t have to say a whole lot,’’ Brown said after practice Thursday. “Of course, late in games, when it’s close, I’m going to have a little bit better feel for what to run and I’m probably going to be making those calls. But during the course of the game, I want them to have more control over how we play.’’
That sounds good to point guard Shane Larkin, the former Knick who had 17 points and five assists off the bench in the 110-104 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday.
“You’re out there on the court so you’ve got a feel for how the game is going, who’s got it going,’’ Larkin said. “So definitely helps when you can just go out there and call a set, and we can get a shot out of the set instead of just, ‘Pound this guy the ball and make him get a bucket for us.’ It’s definitely better.’’
Brown explained that he has given Larkin and Donald Sloan, who started at the point in both the games Brown has coached so far, a “cheat sheet’’ of sets they can call on the fly, rather than always having to look over at the bench to see what he wants them to do. He likened it to the wristband that football quarterbacks wear during games that have plays on them that they can call in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. Larkin said the team has perhaps 30 or 40 plays, and Brown gave him and Sloan six or seven sets that they could work with at any time.
It’s only been two games, but Larkin said the attitude is looser and more positive since Brown became the coach.
“He’s freed everybody up to go play basketball,’’ Larkin said. “It’s not a lot of stress out there. Just go try to have fun, play hard, play with energy. Just go play, that’s what he’s preaching; so that’s what we’re doing.’’
Notes & quotes: Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young all did not practice. The team said the trio was rested.