Amid Brooklyn Nets’ cold streak, Allen Crabbe is heating up

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Allen Crabbe
BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Allen Crabbe /

The Brooklyn Nets have lost seven straight games entering the All-Star break. There’s no way to sugar coat it. Aside from last night’s loss to the Pacers, the games haven’t been particularly close. One bright spot during the skid however, has been guard Allen Crabbe.

About a month ago, we wrote about Crabbe’s inconsistent play, and how it was affecting the team. Since then, he’s really stepped it up.

In the month of February, he’s averaging 18 points and 4.7 rebounds, on 45 percent shooting and 40 percent from three. Over his last five games, those numbers jump to 21.4 points 5.2 rebounds, with 48.8 and 42.6 percent shooting splits.

This stretch has seen Crabbe record a career high 34 points against the Detroit Pistons:

Looking at the numbers, what stands out the most is Crabbe’s increased usage. He’s averaging 15 shot attempts in February to compared to just over 10 per game in the previous two months. One reason for this increase is the absence of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris Levert.

Why did it take so long for Crabbe to find his stride? Kenny Atkinson’s response:

"“That’s a good question. We’ve been kind of hammering the same message to him all year,” Sometimes it takes a guy awhile in a program to find his niche, and find that point where he feels comfortable. I do think with a couple guys being out, ‘Boy, I’d better step it up, because we’re missing a few guys.’ That’s part of it, part of his growth as a leader."

Hollis-Jefferson and Levert are expected to be back shortly after the All-Star break, but that doesn’t mean Crabbe’s usage should decrease.

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Along with his improved efficiency, Crabbe has been hitting clutch shots. He hit multiple shots down the stretch against the New Orleans Pelicans, including the three that sent the game to overtime. Last night against the Pacers, he had 24 points and eight rebounds, and gave the Nets the lead with about four minutes remaining, before Indiana went on a final late run to win.

Crabbe wasn’t happy with the loss saying “It’s frustrating . We keep putting ourselves in a good situation to win and we come up short.”

It’s nice that he’s angry over the losses, and taking more ownership. That won’t necessarily lead to more wins. But the fact remains that Crabbe is a lethal shooter. When he catches fire, he’s capable of changing the score in a hurry.

Crabbe has two more years remaining on his deal with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s going to be a key part of the rotation moving forward. The team will need him to continue his pace if they want to string together some wins, and finish the season strong.