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  • Erik Slater

D'Angelo Russell leads Nets to 101-97 win over Trail Blazers

D'Angelo Russell had his swagger Friday night.

The first year Net scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to propel the Nets to a 101-97 victory Friday night in Portland.

Russell proved to be the closer Brooklyn hoped he would be down the stretch. The 21-year-old was poised under pressure, delivering on two straight offensive possessions in the final 40 seconds.

Brooklyn trailed early but managed to mount a 17-0 run in the third quarter. However, Portland would fight back to take a five point lead late in the fourth.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came up big on the defensive end for Brooklyn. The third-year Net stripped Evan Turner and Damien Lillard on consecutive possessions in the final two minutes with Portland threatening to take the lead.

The Nets got the ball up one with 36 seconds remaining, Russell got the ball and drained a pull up jumper from the top of the key. C.J. McCollum cut the lead to one with 33 seconds left. The ball was in Russell's hands yet again. He hesitated, dribbled between his legs, and drove to the basket for the layup plus the foul on Ed Davis to seal the Brooklyn win.

Russell's composure down the stretch has been superb in recent Nets wins. It all starts and ends with him if this team wants to be competitive.

Russell gave praise to DeMarre Carroll in his post game interview, "“Man I give the credit to DeMarre Carroll honestly. Keeping me poised, talking to me throughout the whole game. Off the floor, we chat a little bit too. Just keeping the poise."

Carroll has proved to be a huge acquisition for Brooklyn. The nine-year NBA veteran came up big as well in the win, scoring 16 points to compliment Russell. Carroll has produced on the floor and taken a critical leadership role in the locker room.

This is what D'Angelo Russell was missing in Los Angeles, a veteran presence. Russell seems to be blossoming under Carroll's leadership and a front office that truly believes he can become the face of the franchise.