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Brown still taking the hits

Brett Brown is trying to coach the team as best he can, but he's also been hailed as the spokesman.

There has been a lot of reaction to general manager Sam Hinkie deciding not to talk to the media about the troubles surrounding his No. 3 pick, rookie center Jahlil Okafor. The Duke product, of course, was suspended by the team before Wednesday's game against the New York Knicks when earlier in the day a second video was released by TMZ that appeared to show Okafor in yet another fight early on Thanksgiving morning in Boston.

Okafor apparently wasn't totally forthcoming when he approached coach Brett Brown to fill him in on the early-morning happenings on the team plane Thursday as they prepared to leave Boston for Houston. That appears to be the reasoning for the two-game suspension.

Wednesday, in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, about an hour and a half before the game, Brown came out and met the media, as coaches do before every game. The gathering was large, as it usually is in New York, but this was different. The suspension had just been announced and everyone wanted to hear the team's explanation as to why, what's next and how high is the level of concern.

The questions were fired, and answered dutifully by Brown for over 10 minutes. Someone then asked him if Nerlens Noel would be starting at center in Okafor's place. "Oh, we can go back to (talking) about the game? Ok, great. We're playing the Knicks."

That should have been the only topic Brown needed to approach before a game. The ten minutes he spent talking about Okafor's lack of honesty and whether he needs professional help and where to put the level of concern, should  have been answered by the general manager, who was standing just around the corner near the locker room. Hasn't this coach been through enough with all the losing he's had to endure, with the daily grind that the NBA provides, whether you're winning or losing? Hinkie talks about what a great relationship the two have. It didn't show on Wednesday. I've been around Brown an awful lot during these tough times, and I'm starting to see him wear down a bit, maybe never more than this past week. How can his general manager not see it? How could he not step in to someone he says he is so close to and say "I'll take this one, you just talk about hoops."

A gesture like that would probably have meant as much to the coach as a ten-game winning streak. And maybe would have done some good for the organization, too.

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