Lasker is happy for Brown to set unselfish tone for Plymouth Raiders
DREW LASKER has urged Marjon Plymouth Raiders to keep playing unselfishly this season.
Raiders extended their BBL Championship winning streak to four games against Manchester Giants at a packed Pavilions last weekend.
Raiders completed 35 assists in a thrilling 119-115 victory in double-overtime.
The result improved Raiders' record to 12-5, three wins back from 15-2 joint-leaders Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles.
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Veteran point-guard Rod Brown, 34, set the selfless tone against Giants with a game-high 14 assists on his debut.
Jeremy Bell, the man Brown has replaced, was leading Raiders in assists, averaging 3.6 per game prior to being cut by the club.
Inconsistent form plagued Raiders earlier this season and saw them go 8-5 before their recent streak.
"Let's just continue this team theme," said guard Lasker, who scored 21 points in all 50 minutes against Giants.
"I felt earlier this season we were playing as individuals and maybe a little bit selfishly, because we didn't know each other too well.
"Things are different now. Just being there for your team-mates makes a difference."
It could be argued Bell is a score-first point-guard, while Brown was certainly looking to pass-first on Saturday.
Lasker added: "All game, Rod was telling guys where to get open on the court and he would find us.
"When you've got a point-guard communicating like that and who's willing to give up the ball, you're going to work harder to get open, because you know he'll find you.
"You could already see that against Manchester. We had a lot of movement off the ball."
Raiders coach Gavin Love said: "Rod's just made my job a lot easier. He's running the team out there on the floor and we've maybe missed that player for the last few seasons.
"With the shooters and talent we have around Rod, I think he's the perfect fit.
"It's just a case of keeping everyone fit now and seeing where we can go."
Lasker said: "Rod doesn't want to score 20, 30 points a night and is just going to make everyone else better on this team."
Bell, a free-agent, has ran Raiders' offence for the last season and a half.
Prior to that, Evaldas Zabas, now starring in the Czech Republic, was the team's starting point-guard in 2010/11, Love's first year in charge.
Brown's CV blows both out of the water, although obviously they have sharpness and youth on their side.
Brown, from Dallas, Texas, began his career in the BBL from 2000-05 before spending six years on the spin at an elite level in Europe, in Spain, Italy and Greece.
Last season Brown, who has been without a club since, helped Lugano win the league and play-offs in Switzerland.
Against Giants, Brown was able to find team-mates open from out on the perimeter.
Equally, he was able to beat the first defender before offloading the ball to a team-mate underneath the basket in the teeth of the Giants defence.
"Rod knows how to play," said Love. "Yes, he's 34 but he's tricky and look at (Raiders rookie) Javarris Barnett – he had 30 points because he was getting great service from Rod.
"Rod got everyone involved and gave us so many easy baskets, and he's a competitor. He doesn't like to lose.
"He made great decisions and for a guy who hasn't played for six months, he was great."
Brown naturally started to tire late in Saturday's fourth quarter, but, with Raiders guard Michael Ojo still out with a fractured eye socket, Love was short on options.
Love said: "I had every intention of giving Rod a breather with two minutes to go every quarter, but he was playing so well and it was so close."
Lasker said: "Rod just raises everyone's level of play. We saw that in training last week. The intensity was raised, because Rod goes hard so everyone else goes hard.
"We have to be professional at all times. That's one of the little things we can learn from someone like Rod who's played at the level he has in Europe."
Raiders now prepare to host 5-13 Durham Wildcats at the Pavilions this Friday (7.30pm).
Ojo says he hopes to be back and another new recruit, centre Andreas Schreiber, 25, is set to make his Raiders debut.
Lasker added: "We're only going to get stronger now this season."