The Nets needed a win Saturday night, and Russell delivered with one of his best performances of the season.
But it wasn’t all roses for Brooklyn.
It took the Nets over 14 minutes to score 20 points. And it seemed like the Celtics — who led by as many as 11 in the second quarter — would deal the most significant blow to Brooklyn’s playoff hopes.
The Nets had other plans.
In front of a sold-out Barclays Center crowd, the Nets exploded late in the second quarter. Brooklyn’s 17-3 run gave it the lead at the half. In the first half, Brooklyn out-rebounded Boston by six, but committed nine turnovers — three by Russell.
The Nets looked like a completely different team — and it was fun to watch.
But everything changed in the third quarter.
The third quarter was all Russell — and all Brooklyn.
Boston had no answer for the Nets’ All-Star, who scored 20 third-quarter points.
Russell could not miss, putting on a show for the Barclays Center crowd.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 30, 2019
Caris LeVert shined in the third as well, getting to the basket and the line at will.
The Nets turned a one-point halftime lead into a 12-point lead to end the third, and Brooklyn never looked back, winning 110-96.
Russell finished with 29 points and 10 assists, showing no signs of fatigue from the seven-game road trip.
After going 2-5 on the trip, Brooklyn desperately needed a win on Saturday.
With the victory, the Nets improve to 39-38 and — since Detroit beat the Trail Blazers — stay steady in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Nets — after being swept by Boston last season — finish 2-2 against the division rival.
Rodions Kurucs exited in the first with a right knee contusion and never returned. In his stead, Treveon Graham started the third and played 15 minutes.
Brooklyn hosts Milwaukee on Monday night — the East’s number one team.
The stats: 29 PTS, 12-24 FG, 4-12 3PT, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 10 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO, 29 MIN
What else can you say about D’Angelo Russell?
After a dreadful performance in Thursday’s loss at Philly, D’Angelo bounced back in force.
His 20-point third-quarter display rocked Barclays Center and gave Brooklyn a lead they did not relinquish.
Whenever the Nets have needed a spark this season, Russell answers the call.
Russell’s court vision was on full display tonight as well.
Tonight marked his eleventh 20+ points and 10+ assist game of the season after having just two entering the 2018-19 season.
The stats: 10 PTS, 2-3 FG, 6-8 FT, 7 REB, 3 AST, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 29 MIN
After being bullied by stronger bigs the past few games, Jarrett Allen exerted his dominance in the paint Saturday night — mainly on the defensive end.
His first of two blocks was a wedgie, something you don’t see too often in the NBA.
Jarrett Allen pulls off the ultra rare block+wedgie combo 👀👀
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 30, 2019
All in all, the Fro battled all game and played with confidence — something the Nets desperately need going forward.
The stats: 5 PTS, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, 3 REB, 15 MIN
For those who didn’t watch Saturday’s game, this one might come as a surprise.
Graham — who hasn’t seen any action since the Sacramento upset — played well in Kurucs’s stead.
Graham had a positive plus-minus of 18 in just 15 minutes of action.
His defense and court-spacing will be a nice addition if Kurucs’s injury is significant.
The stats: 13 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3-5 3PT, 8 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 34 MIN
Over his past few games, Joe Harris is shooting 55 percent from deep.
His success carried over on Saturday, hitting three of his five three-point attempts.
Harris is nothing if not efficient.
Harris’s presence on the glass was huge for the Nets, as he finished two rebounds away from a double-double.
It would not hurt the Nets if his hot shooting continues Monday against the Bucks.
The stats: 15 PTS, 5-13 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-6 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 4 STL, 1 TO, 29 MIN
Caris LeVert is back, Nets fans.
Entering the night, LeVert averaged 17 points in his last two games and six trips to the line. He led the Nets in free throw attempts before his injury.
Tonight, LeVert looked as fresh and in control as he has since returning.
LeVert not only made timely shots, but made timely steals as well.
It’s nice to see LeVert play at this level.