Russell breaks out in Nets win over 76ers
Welcome back D'Angelo Russell.
Nets fans have been waiting for a breakout performance out of Russell since his return from injury. They got it Wednesday night.
Russell scored 22 points in just 17 minutes of action as Brooklyn defeated Philadelphia 116-108.
The 21-year-old had looked rusty in previous games after missing more than two months with a knee injury. However, Russell looked noticeably more comfortable against Philadelphia.
His ball handling, jump shot and ability to finish on drives were all superb in the win.
Spencer Dinwiddie credited Russell as a much-needed spark in the win. "I think our whole team feeds off of the positive play and momentum he created," Dinwiddie said.
Dinwiddie led Brooklyn with 27 points on 13-15 shooting from the free-throw line. Dinwiddie and Russell worked well together when on the court to the delight of Nets fans.
There had been questions of how the two would co-exist in the same backcourt. However, both of the young guards looked comfortable when on the court together as well as when working as the primary ball handler.
Possibly the biggest positive of the night for Brooklyn was the play of rookie center Jarrett Allen.
Allen scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his second-career start. The 19-year-old is shooting 83.3% (25/30) from the field over his last five games and has reached double figures in each game.
The rookie displayed impressive footwork and touch around the basket. The Texas native drilled a pair of outside shots as well. Outside shooting will undoubtably be a huge part of opening up his game.
Allen will still need to develop his body, but at just 19-years of age he has plenty of room to fill out. The Nets strength and conditioning team will be spending plenty of time with Allen in the offseason.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson and General Manager Sean Marks knew Allen was their guy when they drafted him with the 22nd pick. "It's funny. With the really good ones, you know right away," Atkinson said postgame.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Brooklyn. A span in which they failed to stay competitive for the duration of a whole game.
There was a completely different feel to the Nets offense in the win as opposed to the past few games. The ball moved quickly, the big men set solid screens and the guards penetrated to create their own shots or open up others.
Brooklyn shot 50.6% from the field and 40.6% from three in the win.
The Nets will remain at home as Brook Lopez will make his return when the Lakers travel to Brooklyn Friday night.