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What’s different in Allen Crabbe’s game? Confidence

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Kenny Atkinson and the coaching staff continue to show how confidence and trust can go a long way.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Crabbe was having one of those nights where it seemed like absolutely nothing was falling. He was 1-of-11 from three and the Nets continued to fire away... and kept missing.

Then, on Crabbe’s 12th and final shot of the night, he nailed the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer that put the Nets up by two with 44 seconds, sealing another victory for Brooklyn.

“I think it was just that ‘I don’t care’ attitude,” said Crabbe after the victory. “If you miss, you miss. That used to be my problem in the past, missing so many shots and I’ll start getting tentative and look to pass up on shots.”

He credited the coaching staff and his teammates. Perhaps Kenny Atkinson and the coach staff’s best trait in developing players has been the intangible things like building confidence.

“Every time I miss a shot, teammates and coaches tell me to shoot the next one, we don’t care how many you shoot and miss, if you’re open, shoot the ball. That’s why I’m here, to shoot the ball. I understand I’m not going to be 10-for-10 every night from the three-point line.”

His point guard had high praise for him.

“I don’t care about any of that,” Spencer Dinwiddie replied when asked about trusting Crabbe during a tough night. “He was one of the best three-point shooters in the league last year. I don’t know what his percentages are this year, but my man can shoot. Anytime he’s open, I’m going to find him.”

Oh yeah, and part of the intangible things? Trust.

“I was expecting it,” said Crabbe of getting the big shot. “That was the play Kenny drew up. We had to sell it pretty well because they were switching everything. I’m glad that I got open, got a good look and shot it.”

“I trusted him. He’s a 40 percent 3-point shooter, second-best 3-point shooter in the league. I still have confidence in him and great pass by Spencer (Dinwiddie),” head coach Kenny Atkinson said after the game.

That’s the key to what Atkinson has preached with this young group: no matter how many shots you miss - keep shooting.

It’s become crucial for this team, who stand 2.5 games out of the 6-8 seeds in the Eastern Conference with a 11-15 record, winning three of the last four. They’ll look to narrow their deficit in the standings with a match-up at home against the Knicks on Thursday.