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Nets spoil DLo’s return, beat Warriors by 41, 129-88

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Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The former king of New York City hoops, D’Angelo Russell, visited his former palace in Brooklyn on Wednesday with his new team in hopes of smiting a beast. Let’s just say it didn’t go well for DLo, who finished with 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting.

“Obviously we knew taking D’Lo, try to bring his percentage down, that was the game plan — the first part of the game plan,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game.

“It was a little weird. I’ve never played against him [Russell] before,” said Caris LeVert.

Although his return brought excitement to the arena, the game did not. The Nets absolutely manhandled the 12-win Golden State Warriors in a wire-to-wire victory, 129-88, Wednesday night at Barclays Center. It’s their fourth win the the last five games, improving to 23-27 on the season.

The Nets played without Kyrie Irving, while the Warriors played without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and, and... It didn’t matter. This thing was a blowout from the start — depleted or not.

“Forty-one points is really big. We had a great defensive game tonight,” said Garrett Temple, who added 16 points and four assists. “Defensively if we keep playing the way we’re playing we have a chance every game.”

The Nets started the game on a 15-2 run — 26-10 extended. They scored 40 points in the first quarter after nailing seven three-pointers and led by 15. Then, things got out of hand in the second quarter when Brooklyn started on a 12-4 run and took a 20-point lead.

They barreled through the Warriors the rest of the way. The Nets went up 30, then 36, then 41, then 44, with less than a minute remaining. The final 41-point margin was the fifth biggest in team history, the biggest ever at Barclays Center and the largest in 12 years stretching back to when the Nets were playing in the Meadowlands.

It was one of the best defensive performances from the Nets this season. They out-rebounded the Warriors by 31 and forced them to shoot just 36.5 percent from the field, 5-of-39 from three. That’s 12.8 percent.

Offensively, Joe Harris was the catalyst in the first half and throughout the night, showing just why he’s the motor to Brooklyn’s offensive system. He scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting with two 3-pointers. He drove the ball, hit his three’s and did everything the Nets needed him to do. Caris LeVert was the leader with 20 points — his second straight game with 20+ points. He also snared seven rebounds.

The Nets, meanwhile, hit 51 percent of their shots and 41 percent from three. Every active player saw time and six of them finished in double figures. Garrett Temple came off the bench and dropped 16 points, while Rodions Kurucs chipped in 12.

“It’s really encouraging to see,” LeVert said of Kurucs. “We did a lot of extra work, three-on-three with those guys and he was really shooting the ball extremely well.”

Don’t call it a hot streak! The Nets need these wins in the worst way with Kyrie out and a tough schedule upcoming. They’re four games below .500, but it seems like they’re beginning to grow as a collective unit. We’ll see on Saturday against the defending champs.

Here’s what Steve Kerr said about the Nets after the game:

Kenny Atkinson has always done a really good job here. I’ve said over the last couple of years often just how impressive the job that Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks have done in turning a program around that had no draft picks for several years. And they did it by building a really strong culture and a strong player development foundation. They found guys like Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie – all of these guys who were there for the taking around the league. They took those guys and helped develop them, and they’re all excellent players now. Obviously with the additions they’ve made in free agency, in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they’re going to be a team to recon with. They’ve done a fantastic job.”

Right on the money.

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WELCOME BACK, D’ANGELO

D’Angelo Russell was back at Barclays Center for the first time since the Nets “traded” him to Golden State. Russell played two season with the Nets and propelled a 28-win team into a 42-win playoff team.

They would not be in the position they’re in today if it weren’t for Russell.

AND A HUG FOR THE WHAMMY’S

INTROS

He is still one of — if not — the most popular guy in Brooklyn. Here for a good time, not a long time.

Meanwhile. the Brooklyn Brigade got some attention from NBA Latin America which is seen in South America and Spain.

For a different perspective, head on over to Golden State of Mind, our Warriors sister site on SB Nation.

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NEXT UP: Raptors on Saturday in Toronto.