After the much ballyhooed fourth-quarter benching on Wednesday in Detroit, D’Angelo Russell saved his best for last Friday, scoring nine points to help fuel the Brooklyn Nets’ fourth-quarter comeback.
That’s the effort that salvaged his grade for the game, because his first three quarters were a bit shaky. He did have five assists through three quarters, but was just 1-for-6 shooting with three turnovers.
Russell continues to sometimes display a tendency to dribble himself into trouble along the baseline and attempt to bail himself out with an ill-advised pass back above the break. Twice on Friday, those passes were directly to New York players, as if they were the intended targets.
Know where you’re passing, but without telegraphing, kids.
Defensively, Russell was solid and that deserves acknowledgment considering how much criticism he’s gotten for his lapses on that end.
Jarrett Allen‘s growth from Year 1 to Year 2 can’t be overstated at this point. His footwork in the post is markedly better. He’s stronger. He attacks offensive players coming toward what he now seems to consider “his” rim.
He’s had two double-doubles in two games this season after four all of last year.
Enes Kanter still pushed him around a bit on the defensive end, scoring 29 points, but Allen prevented Kanter from demolishing the Nets on the glass, doing a much better job warding off Kanter — one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA — than he did in the Oct. 3 preseason opener.
His hands have gotten better, though he still has instances where rebounds and passes slip through rather than being grabbed cleanly and his decision-making with the ball — while improving — can still be, frankly, scary as hell.