Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson, thank you for saving the Nets.
One night of coming back from a double-digit deficit was thrilling enough, but with another on Friday, Brooklyn fans are having the time of their lives.
The Nets saw themselves behind by as many as 21 points against Orlando, but thanks to more clutch play from Spencer Dinwiddie and a career night from D’Angelo Russell, the Nets were the ones with the magic. The win was the first in seven years where the Nets came back from a deficit of over 20 points.
But the thrilling energy was not there all game.
To start, the Nets came out flat. Brooklyn’s fatigue was evident on both ends of the court – especially on the glass. Jarrett Allen struggled to box out Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, but he did add both players to his collection of rejections. On the defensive end, Brooklyn was plagued by veteran guard D.J. Augustin – who scored 10 points in the first.
Trailing 32-25 at the end of the first, the Nets needed a jolt of energy in the second quarter if they hoped to make an early comeback. That jolt was nowhere to be found, as Brooklyn trailed by as many as 21 points.
Fortunately for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell came alive. He who scored 24 points in the first half (19 in the second quarter) behind six threes on eight attempts, helping narrow the halftime deficit to 13 points.
Russell single-handedly kept the Nets in the game.
Brooklyn only turned the ball over four times in the first half, which helped give the team a shot in the second half. Still, Brooklyn was out-rebounded 22-15 and shot just three free throws – a trend that is not a recipe for success.
To begin the second half, Orlando wasn’t deterred by Brooklyn’s defense. The Magic scored at will, and the Nets had difficulty answering. Yet, the Nets stayed in the game.
With under four to go in the third quarter, Brooklyn came back to life. Behind Dinwiddie’s 11 third-quarter points, the Nets cut their deficit to single-digits.
Dinwiddie gets in his groove when he gets to the rim and knocks down his threes. Brooklyn outscored Orlando 32-28 in the third, which was a step towards what was to come.
With a closer game, the fourth quarter was a battle. The Nets kept scoring, and the Magic kept answering.
Down by six with under five minutes remaining, the Nets made their move.
First, a Russell jumper cut the deficit to just two with under two minutes left.
Dinwiddie then followed with a clutch 4-point play, exciting the bench and giving the Nets a two-point lead. But Vucevic tied it up on the following possession.
Then came Mr. Ice In His Veins.
Russell came through for Brooklyn, draining a huge three while tying career-high with 40 points.
Here's how the final minute of the #Nets – Magic game shook out 👀
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 19, 2019
Up by three, the Brooklyn Nets just needed one stop. But Terrance Ross’s leg had other plans.
Ross blatantly kicked out his leg while attempting a three, causing Treveon Graham to get called for a foul (Nets fans will be interested to see what the L2M says tomorrow).
But, as Rasheed Wallace once said, “Ball don’t lie.”
Ross made two of his three attempts, lowering Brooklyn’s lead to one. On the other end, Dinwiddie went 1-for-2 at the stripe.
With a two-point lead, the Magic waited until the last second to hoist up a two-pointer. Evan Fournier missed, and the Nets won 117-115.
The Brooklyn Nets are above .500 and are playing a type of basketball that continues to catch attention from around the league.
You’ve heard it before — this team is special. Back-to-back comeback wins in thrilling fashion?
It doesn’t get better.
D’Angelo Russell Point Guard
40 PTS, 16-25 FG, 8-12 3PT, 2 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 33 MIN
What else can be said about Brooklyn’s emerging superstar?
D’Angelo Russell’s performance tonight was spectacular, as he was the man responsible for keeping Brooklyn alive tonight.
Russell tied his career high with 40 points, including his go-ahead three.
D’Angelo Russell’s bid for the All-Star Game was strengthened tonight.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
20 PTS, 6-11 FG, 3-7 3PT, 5-7 FT, 2 REB, 3 AST, 4 TO, 27 MIN
The “slump” continues to be over for Spencer Dinwiddie.
He emphatically broke out his funk on Wednesday night, scoring 33 points to lead the Nets to the overtime victory. Dinwiddie buried three clutch threes in the final 29 seconds of regulation.
Dinwiddie’s second half performance today was vital in Brooklyn’s comeback. He scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and converted on a clutch 4-point play in crunch time which gave the Nets their first lead since they led 2-0.
This is the Dinwiddie Nets fans know and love.
Shabazz Napier Point Guard
12 PTS, 4-13 FG, 4-11 3PT, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 BLK, 18 MIN
After not seeing much action against the Rockets, Shabazz Napier played a very strong game tonight.
Napier made four threes, which accounted for all 12 of his points tonight. If Napier continues to produce, it will be difficult to remove him from the rotation.
DeMarre Carroll Small Forward
10 PTS, 5-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 0-2 FT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 29 MIN
DeMarre Carroll’s play over the past month has been a key to Brooklyn’s success.
Despite scoring just 10 points, Carroll was all over the floor tonight. His defensive presence was needed, as Rodions Kurucs struggled against Aaron Gordon.
With Jared Dudley sidelined, Carroll is the unquestioned alpha-leader on and off the court. With the Nets winning their third straight, he’s continued to do a good job.
Jarrett Allen Center
6 PTS, 2-6 FG, 2-3 FT, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4 BLK, 25 MIN
In his home state of Texas on Wednesday, Jarrett Allen put together his best performance of his career. Allen put up 20 points and 24 boards, helping lead the Nets to an overtime victory against the Rockets.
Against Vucevic, Allen had significantly more trouble dominating in the paint. The Nets lost the rebound battle 49-41 – Vucevic grabbed 17.
Despite his struggles in the first three quarters, The Fro had a fantastic fourth quarter on the defensive end and on the glass.
Allen, like usual, recorded four more blocks tonight. His ability to protect the rim has improved greatly this season.