Atlantic Notes: Brown, Griffin, Simmons, Raptors

With James Harden sidelined, Bruce Brown‘s role has expanded and the Nets guard is thriving, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. Brown blanketed Khris Middleton while piling up 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in Brooklyn’s Game 2 blowout of the Bucks on Monday. “Bruce just comes in and plays extremely hard,” Kevin Durant said. Brown’s value is rising at an opportune time, as he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Blake Griffin, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, continued his resurgence with another strong defensive outing against Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 2, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. The Nets big man only took four shots, making three, after his 18-point, 14-rebound performance in Game 1. “He always plays with that good energy, fire to him,” Brown said. “They counted him out at the beginning of this year, so he’s got something to prove.”
  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers has compiled a series of video clips to demonstrate to the league that Ben Simmons doesn’t get a fair shake when guarding smaller players, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “You should never be penalized for playing straight, solid, legal, physical defense,” Rivers said. Rivers has an ulterior motive to lobby for Simmons since the Sixers would prefer to have him guard the Hawks’ top scorer, Trae Young, during the conference semifinals.
  • The Raptors have enough versatile defenders to get by without a traditional center, Eric Koreen of The Athletic argues. Finding a big man with athleticism and agility should be the priority, with a free agent such as JaMychal Green, Daniel Theis, Richaun Holmes or Nerlens Noel filling that need.
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