BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Nets had a case of the “Mondays” when they played Boston a week back and lost by 21. D’Angelo Russell wasn’t letting that happen this Monday night.
Russell finished with 34 points, five rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes, leading the Nets when they needed him most. It was a one-point Nets’ lead at halftime, but then Russell got hot and had the entire Barclays Center on its feet.
First, he hit two three’s in a row, assisted to Jarrett Allen, then hit another three — his seventh on the night — leading the Nets on a 15-0 run as the Nets took a 24-point lead entering the fourth.
He was having a whole lot of fun...
As Kenny Atkinson said post-game, DLo was “fearless.” Russell himself said it’s all about respect. “You’ve got to respect us. Teams — I can’t speak for them — but I feel like aren’t really respecting the Brooklyn Nets...
“We’re building off each win. It’s hard to win in this league. We’re scratching and clawing for each win. It’s coming down to a last shot or a last defensive stop or what not, we know that. So every win is a good win for us. We’re building our confidence on it.”
His coach put it more succinctly.
“We’re making strides towards doing something special here,” said Kenny Atkinson.
The Nets out-scored the Celtics 44-21 in the quarter with DLo dropping 18 in the quarter. A Rodions Kurucs tip-in buzzer beater put the cherry on top.
And so, the Nets (22-23) went on to win, 109-102, against the 25-18 Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. They’re 3-2 in the last five and entered the match-up as the seventh seed in the East.
The Celtics, of course, were without two key players in Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart. The Nets were without six players of their own (see below).
Boston still made a late run — or should I say the Nets collapsed.
Boston went on a 10-0 run late — 30-10 extended — and cut the deficit down to seven with less than a minute remaining. No timeouts called. Sloppy offense. Unnecessary technical foul from Spencer Dinwiddie.
But, they ultimately prevailed with DeMarre Carroll sealing the deal at the line.
The Nets out-rebounded the Celtics by 14 in large part due to the prowess of Jarrett Allen. Allen came down with 12 rebounds — five offensive — to go along with 19 points and four blocked shots. Carroll also grabbed 14 off the bench and scored 10 points for his second double-double of the season.
Kurucs came up big again with 19 points while Joe Harris chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.
For Boston, Jayson Tatum led with 34 points. The Nets contained the Celtics to 40 percent shooting and just 21 assists.
“We came a long way. I don’t think in the beginning of the year we would have finished the game out like we did,” said Jarrett Allen. “But now we’ve grown, we play harder, we play tougher and we’re showing that we’ve improved a lot.”
It’s just another feel-good story for these Brooklyn Nets: A player who was somewhat lost in the league seems to have found his way ... and a home. D’Angelo Russell worked hard for this. One mistake at 19-years-old doesn’t define who you are.
The Miami Heat have won two straight games, which puts them 1.5 games ahead of the Nets entering Monday’s game. At the end of the night, the Nets were in seventh, a game ahead of the Hornets ... and only behind the fifth place Celtics.
Brooklyn’s biggest upside this season has been their depth. Without a doubt. They have multiple ball handlers worthy of time, playmakers and even a few bigs they’ve been able to experiment with depending on the match-up. was the latest.
It’s been tough of late with so many injuries and yet, they’re still hanging on. Here was the injury list entering Monday. Shabazz Napier is the latest.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (right adductor strain)
- Shabazz Napier (right hamstring tightness)
- Allen Crabbe (sore right knee)
- Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain)
- Caris LeVert (subtalar dislocation, right foot)
- Dzanan Musa (left shoulder subluxation)
Atkinson admitted he’s been surprised by the Nets resilience.
“If you’d have told me we’d be in this position without those guys, I would say no way,” said Atkinson. “And that’s no discredit to anybody. I do think we’re deeper. But missing, you can argue, three starters, missing those guys and we’re still, even a win like tonight, it makes it kind of more special that we’re doing it with some really key, key players out and starters. It makes it extra special.”
Spencer Dinwiddie didn’t seem all too pleased with the word “slump” being used to describe his game of late.
“I think he’s in a little bit of a slump right now. He needs to get out of it for us to be a good team,” said Kenny Atkinson after the Toronto loss.
Over the last five games, Dinwiddie is averaging 11.8 points and 3.6 assists. A few years back we would’ve been celebrating that stat line. However, now that he’s evolved as a player and finally earned a multi-year contract, it’s clear that he’s being held to higher standard.
Atkinson said he apologized to Dinwiddie...
Asked Kenny Atkinson about #SpencerDinwiddie tween responding to his "slump" comment & #Nets coach said he apologized to Dinwiddie, called "slump" the wrong turn. At same time, said Nets need the "excellent Spencer" to get back to "playing at an All-Star level." They're cool.— Greg Logan (@GregLogan1) January 15, 2019
The issue is the shooting woes — 35 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three.
... We wish.
For another view of all this, head on over to Celtics Blog, our sister site on SB Nation.
Oh, well what’d you think it was gonna get easier?! Next up is the Houston Rockets in Houston on Wednesday, 8 PM.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 109, Boston Celtics 102 - NBA.com
- Video: Brooklyn Nets 109, Boston Celtics 102 - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: BOS@BKN (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Russell on big win over Celtics (Video) - Michael Grady - YES Network
- Atkinson on big win over Celtics (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson previews Celtics game (Video) - YES Network
- Wear Brooklyn At? (Video) - YES Network
- Russell scores 34, Nets send Celtics to 3rd straight loss - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Strong third quarter carries Nets past Celtics - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- D’Angelo Russell puts on show as Nets handle Kyrie-less Celtics - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving is impressed with Nets’ improving young core - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- The NBA has taken notice of Kenny Atkinson’s good work - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets stud: Kevin Durant will be hearing from me in free agency (But it’s not tampering!) - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets use huge third quarter, D’Angelo Russell’s 34 points to beat Celtics - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kenny Atkinson apologizes to Spencer Dinwiddie for ‘slump’ remark - Greg Logan - Newsday
- NETS 109, CELTICS 102: RUSSELL LEADS BROOKLYN TO WIN WITH 34 POINTS - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- NETS VS. CELTICS: JARRETT ALLEN, D’ANGELO RUSSELL, AND KENNY ATKINSON TOP QUOTES - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Celtics trip again, suffer bad loss in Brooklyn - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- Celtics notebook: Brad Stevens OK with suggestions in the huddle - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- Nets hit third gear, leave Celtics in the dust - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe