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“Defensively, he’s been better than what I thought,” Brown said. “I actually thought he was going to struggle defensively _ bad. But he’s picked up on the concepts and he’s been tougher and stronger than what I expected.

“At the end of the day, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes, he can score. He can score from all three levels and once he figures out how hard he has to play offensively in order for it to happen on a possession by possession occurrence, he’ll be good.”

Until then, Bennett is getting support from his teammates. They’re urging him to keep his chin up and the shots will eventually go down.

“We just keep encouraging him,” point guard Jarrett Jack said. “We want him to understand, `You made it this far because you are a special player and don’t ever forget that.’ The one thing you do have to have in this league to be successful is confidence, and once that starts to waver, it’s going to have a snowball effect.

“There was going to be a time this season when he was going to have a tough three-game stretch. It’s just that it started in the first couple of games. There are 78 more to go. Once we’re in January or February and he’s being his old self, I’ll go over to him and say, `You did all that worrying for nothing.’”

First, though, Bennett needs to make a shot.