Kenny Atkinson’s pre-game media session turned out to be brief, but newsy.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will play Sunday night after being questionable with a facial laceration, and D’Angelo Russell, who was pulled six and a half minutes into Saturday’s win over the Heat, will be back starting. Well rested, too!
End of story. If you thought there’d be more drama, you don’t know Atkinson or the Nets culture.
Sure, after starting Saturday, Russell played a bit, but shot 0-of-5 from the field, including an 0-of-3 from deep. He also exhibited some carelessness with the ball.
Out he went, never to return, but hey, the Nets won in overtime, so he was fine.
As for Hollis-Jefferson’s lacerations (aka cuts), Atkinson said it’s nothing serious.
Here’s the Q and A
What’s Rondae Hollis Jefferson’s status?
“He’s good to go – he took a good shot in the eye [got] stitches, looked bad last night but he’s good to go.”
How do you look at Rondae’s importance versus last season?
”Emotional maturity has been a big growth, just moving onto the next play. We call it ‘next play mentality’ if you make a mistake or miss a shot, sprint back or whatever that next sequence should look like to help the team. I think he’s grown leaps and bounds there. I think physically he’s gotten better. I told him the other day he’s not on the floor nearly as much as he was last year, his balance has gotten better. He always plays hard that’s why you trust him.”
Did you have a conversation with D’Angelo after the game or today about your thought process and why you chose to go the way you chose to go?
“No, I think that’s what’s great about having a team. I think he (Russell) saw the team was doing well, and appreciated that and respected that, respected the decision. After the game, I shake everybody’s hand after the game, win or lose, (I told him), ‘get ready for tomorrow, you’ll be starting, doing your normal thing and have another triple double (laughs). There’s so many games, I said it last night, it could happen to anybody, it could be any of our players where the game starts going in a certain direction and then you go with the feels of a coach. He’ll be back tonight and have a good game.”