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Russell leads Brooklyn’s late charge with a 101-97 victory over Portland

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

DeMarre Carroll sat down with D’Angelo Russell following his 8-turnover night Tuesday to discuss composure and shot selection, among other things, after Brooklyn’s 112-104 loss to Denver.

It’s things like this — the intangible — that make this whole Brooklyn thing so much different than Los Angeles. Guys have Russell’s back. And as Carroll said: the Nets need him.

The Nets entered Friday having lost four of their last five. They haven’t played their best basketball and players like Russell are still getting accustomed to their new roles in the new system.

No matter on this night in the Rose City. Despite a spate of injuries to their bigs, Russell and the Nets went in and surprised the Trail Blazers to notch their fifth victory of the season, 101-97. The Nets are now 2-2 on their road trip. They play the Jazz Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

It was behind another balanced attack, touched with a dose of hero ball late in the game. Russell scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and five in the last minute to get Brooklyn the victory. He scored two consecutive buckets then sealed the deal at the line to put Brooklyn up by four.

Carroll had spoken two nights ago about his late conversation with Russell, 10 years his junior.

“We actually had a long conversation in my room,” said Carroll after Russell’s eight-turnover game. “At the end of the day he’s just trying to feel his way in, coming from the Lakers where it was all open, one-on-one. He’s trying to fit his way in, know when to attack, when to make the play.

“So right now he may be overthinking it a bit. But it’s the same thing when I was in Atlanta with Jeff Teague doing the same thing. I told him go look at film of Teague and see how he adapted to it; because at the end of the game we’re going to need him, his scoring. It’s growing pains. He’ll learn. He’ll definitely be better.”

Russell didn’t forget.

"I give the credit to DeMarre Carroll, keeping me poised, talking to me through the whole game. Off the floor we chat a little bit just to keep the poise,” Russell said after the victory Friday.

While D’Angelo Russell stood out on the offensive end late, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson kept the Nets in the game with his high intensity, particularly shown on the defensive end.

“We couldn’t take him out of the game,” Kenny Atkinson said. “He was out there, I don’t know how long, two straight quarters.

“We thought about getting him a rest but he was playing too well. Too good defensively for us to take him out, and that’s the ultimate compliment.”

It was the highlight of Brooklyn’s best defensive effort this season.

“They played harder than we did,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “They got loose balls, they ran faster. They deserved to win.”

The Nets were helped early when the Blazers 1-2 punch started slowly. Damian Lillard and McCollum shot just 3-of-13 in the first half, but Jusuf Nurkic exposed the Nets and propelled Portland with 15 points in the half, as Portland led by six at the break. The Blazers extended the lead to 10, but the Nets finished out the quarter on a 22-5 run. They even grabbed a 10-point lead at one point in the second half.

The offense looked more in-sync with guys moving off the ball and others simply filling their role. They outscored the Trail Blazers 31-18 in the third quarter. They looked more like the team we saw the first five games of the season.

It made for an interesting finish.

Lillard finally woke up and capped off a 10-2 run for Portland to take a five-point lead late in the fourth. The Nets answered and tied the game at 89 apiece. Five minutes on the clock.

The Trail Blazers had two opportunities to take the lead, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came up with two nifty steals.

Russell came down on the other end and put Brooklyn up three. Portland cut it down to one, but Russell drove to the hole, scored the basket and got the foul. Game over.


And then...

Russell finished the night with 21 points and nine assists in 28 minutes. He committed just two turnovers after coughing it up eight times on Tuesday. Carroll finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The two have created a chemistry on and off the court, the 31-year-old veteran and 21-year-old kid.

The Nets played with only one healthy player taller than 6’8”. So, no surprise, they were exposed down low by Nurkic who finished with a team-high 21 points. However, Brooklyn clamped together and held Lillard and McCollum to 13-of-32 shooting on the night.

It was just the second game all season that Brooklyn allowed fewer than 100 points. Both came in victories. They’re now 5-7 on the season and 2-2 on the trip. A win Saturday would be the first time since 2015-16 that a Nets team win back-to-back on the road.

Aside from the defensive effort, the most important thing was Brooklyn’s composed play. They assisted on 25 of their 39 made buckets and turned the ball over just 10 times.


After playing four seasons in Portland, Allen Crabbe was on the other side for the first time with the Brooklyn Nets. According to Michael Grady, Crabbe claimed he wasn’t playing with a chip on his shoulder… but we find that hard to believe. He finished with 12 points and two-three pointers.


After missing one game with a hip contusion, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was active. On the other hand, Trevor Booker missed his third straight game with a back injury and Tyler Zeller was scratched due to an illness of some sort. Jarrett Allen missed his fifth consecutive game with a foot injury. As noted, the Nets had one healthy player taller than 6’8”. One. Timofey Mozgov.


"We're coming together and that's what we need on this road trip,” Russell said.

For a different perspective on tonight’s game, head over to Blazers’ Edge.