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Russell hurt as Nets lose to Jazz, 114-106

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets played the Jazz, but left with the blues. They lost the game, 114-106, and maybe D’Angelo Russell, too.

Russell who finished with 26 points, left the game with a knee injury late in the game and was seen limping out of the arena. Brian Lewis and Greg Logan report that it was severe enough for him to be examined by the Jazz team doctor immediately after the game.

Until then, no medical updates.

“No update. Checking him out now,” Kenny Atkinson offered post-game. “I didn’t really see it. I didn’t see the play. I think when he landed on a jump, I believe that’s when it happened. … We’re evaluating him now. I guess we’ll do more tests [Sunday].”

It should be noted that Russell hurt his right knee earlier this season and missed a game. This injury is said to be his left knee. Russell was plagued by knee injuries last season in L.A., none severe enough to warrant surgery.

That of course trumps whatever happened on the court, where the Nets went down by 18, then came back to bring the game to within four in the last two minutes, only to see mistakes put the game away.

The Nets had won two of four on their road trip entering Saturday night’s game , but Brooklyn struggled to come up with necessary stops to get a victory ... and in the first half looked as sloppy as they did vs. the Nuggets early the week.

The game seesawed then moved in Utah’s favor when Russell checked out late in the first quarter.

Utah used a 25-4 run at the end of the first to propel them throughout the night. The Nets failed to get their first consecutive road victories since 2015-2016.

Although the Nets were without Jeremy Lin, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, the Jazz were without Rudy Gobert (knee contusions).

The Nets played well and owned a five-point lead late in the first when Kenny Atklnson subbed a scorching Russell out. With Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Isaiah Whitehead got the call to play backup point

This is where things got out of hand.

The Jazz immediately exposed the second unit and jumped out on the 25-4 run and took a 16-point lead at half. They out-scored the Nets 36-20 in the second quarter, with left many wondering if Atkinson had left the backup unit in for too long.

Utah had full momentum heading into halftime, but the Nets answered strong in the second half, just not strong enough.

They gained momentum and cut the deficit down to four late in the fourth quarter following a 11-2 run. They did it without Russell, who had exited the game with 2:35 remaining.

The Nets fought and fought and fought, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. It didn’t help that there was no Russell or Spencer Dinwiddie to control the offense in the last two minutes. Derrick Favors (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Donovan Mitchell (26 points) ultimately put them out following two turnovers in the final minute.

Before he went down, Russell did all he could to keep the Nets afloat with 26 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes, but he got little help. It was Russell’s sixth game of the year with 20 or more points and his first back-to-back games doing so.

Trevor Booker stepped up in his return with 12 points off the bench, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 19 points and six rebounds, including 11-of-12 shooting from the free throw stripe. DeMarre Carroll also played well with 15 points, but those were the only other three Nets, aside from Russell, in double figures.

They shot 47 percent from the field – 30 percent from 3-point -- and came up with more turnovers (17) than assists (13).

The Nets altered their style of play with Gobert out. They didn’t attempt many three’s in the first half and tried to force their presence on the inside. It didn’t work too well. They got to the free throw line plenty, but that was about it.

The Nets are now 5-8 on the season and finished the road-trip with a 2-3 record. They’ll return home on Tuesday to face the scorching Boston Celtics.

Donovan Mitchell, who’s looking like a draft steal at No. 13, finished with 26 for the Jazz, including four in the final minute to put the game away.


D’Angelo Russell is one of seven players averaging 20.0+ points, 4.0+ rebounds and 5.0+ assists. He joins DeMarcus Cousins, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James and Damian Lillard. The Nets are 3-0 when he records eight or more assists.


Trevor Booker (back) and Tyler Zeller (illness) made their return tonight. Meanwhile, Jarrett Allen (foot) remained out and Spencer Dinwiddie (hamstring) sat out. Rudy Gobert was out for Utah.


It was a bittersweet road-trip for the Nets. They showed signs of hope (in spurts) but failed to come away with the final game of the trip ... and now must wait for Sunday’s medical update on Russell.