Offensive outburst powers Nets to sweep over Nuggets


Final: 02/06/2019

W 135 130

When one of the powers of the West come into Brooklyn, the Nets get by with a little help from their bench. 

With the 53-42 bench advantage, a three-point clinic led by D’Angelo Russell didn’t hurt the Nets either to snap a three-game losing streak and mark a season sweep of the Nuggets. 

This was one of Brooklyn’s most fun and dominant performances of the season, and that was after the Nuggets looked like they could do no wrong. 

With Nikola Jokic impressing and Mason Plumlee smothering the Nets with his revenge game, Denver quickly got off to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. Jarrett Allen was Brooklyn’s main answer early on, scoring 9 of the team’s first 12 points. 

Plumlee still thrived in the paint, putting up 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks in 10 minutes. The Nuggets, holding the second-best record in the West, were ready to take off. 

Then Brooklyn’s bench came in. 

Behind contributions from DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets’ bench quickly provided a boost. What was a double-digit deficit somehow was cut to five by the end of the first quarter, with the bench making up almost half of the Nets’ first-quarter production. 

Then the second quarter was when — with the Nets coming off back-to-back sub-95-point games for the first time in Kenny Atkinson history — everything clicked. 

Allen Crabbe made his return from injury and drained his first shot — a three, of course. Then Treveon Graham followed up with a three of his own, one of four on the night for him. 

The Nets took the lead then, and built it up to as high as 14 in the quarter — equal to their deficit in the first. 

It was a quick turnaround powered by three-pointers, drives and steals. D’Angelo Russell ran the offense, Joe Harris carried pure momentum and Carroll was the ultimate spark plug with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in 17 minutes. 

Everything was going so well that the Nets’ bench spoke for everyone. 

After a 42-point second quarter and 72-point first half, the Nets went up by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. Denver is a strong third-quarter team, but the Nets were stronger, outscoring the Nuggets 36-27 in the frame. 

Rodions Kurucs and Russell pushed the Nets to 19 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter, and D-Lo could not miss from three. Neither could Joe. 

It. Was. Fun. 

Then came the fourth quarter, where things got a bit interesting. The Nuggets made a push, cutting the deficit to as little as four points with less than five seconds to play. Brooklyn stayed ahead just enough with free throws despite a surge from Jokic and Jamal Murray. 

The Nets made Barclays Center history with 36 assists on 46 field goals, the most recorded in their home since its opening in 2012-13. D-Lo and Shabazz Napier had 11 assists each, and Carroll tied his career-high contribution with six. 

Coming off back-to-back games with a combined 19 percent shooting mark from three, the Nets put up a 55.9 percent mark (19-34) in a night where the ball was shared consistently. 

Brooklyn’s defense was not at its best, but the ball was moving well with Atkinson calling it an “excellent win,” especially to sweep the Nuggets and help hand the team its first back-to-back losses in over a month. 

Brooklyn’s confidence stretches past the losing streaks and shooting slumps. Eventually, the confidence turns into a well-oiled machine. 

The Nets found that groove against one of the best teams in the league, twice. 

Now surpassing last season’s win total with 29, that’s progress. 

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 27 PTS, 10-23 FG, 6-9 3PT, 1-1 FT, 6 REB, 11 AST, 3 TO, 35 MIN

Can Brooklyn ask for much more from its All-Star? 

Just four rebounds away from a triple-double, D-Lo’s confidence is evident in every decision he makes. On a night when the Nets’ ball movement was at its best, D’Angelo also brought a three-point threat the Nets have been missing. 

From the bench celebrations to the ice-cold jumpers and crafty finishes, D’Angelo is key to both building and maintaining the momentum this team finds while an All-Star leads the way. 

Shabazz Napier


The stats: 10 PTS, 2-4 FG, 2-2 3PT, 4-6 FT, 2 REB, 11 AST, 1 TO, 27 MIN

Shabazz is a smart decision-maker and walking highlight reel all in one. 

He does not take many shots, always looking for his teammates first. His dish to RHJ in the paint to put the Nets up eight in the final moments of the game was as smart a decision you can see a player make in a crunchtime situation. 

With those 11 assists, two threes and this highlight, we’re going to have Napier plays on repeat. 

DeMarre Carroll


The stats: 18 PTS, 3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 10-13 3PT, 10 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 2 TO, 28 MIN

Do-it-all DeMarre. 

Carroll’s play off the bench picked up the team after the Nuggets were unstoppable to start the game. HIs six assists all came in the first half, setting the precedent for the team.

Add in his three-point threat and defensive prowess, you have a player that any team would kill to have. Brooklyn is especially thankful to have him after performances like this. 

Mr. Spark Plug. 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson


The stats: 15 PTS, 6-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-5 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 20 MIN

This was one of Rondae’s strongest games in a while. He has looked tentative this season, and did get frustrated at times against the Nuggets, but put together a performance that included an important bucket in the closing moments of the game. 

Nets fans hope his confidence grows from here. 

Allen Crabbe


The stats: 5 PTS, 2-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3 AST, 1 STL, 13 MIN

Welcome back, Crabbe!

Draining his first three back was as sweet as it was going to get for Crabbe, and his three assists and steal in limited minutes were just what the Nets needed. 

The return of the injured list has begun, and it is off to a strong start.