Brooklyn Nets: D’Angelo Russell did what he could in loss

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets on Monday dropped their 7th straight game, losing 99-97 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. D’Angelo Russell did what he could, but came up short.

D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets had another one of those games that will drive the NBA statheads insane, scoring 30 points in Monday night’s 99-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center.

That’s 30 points on 31 shots, however.

Russell had the hot hand in the first quarter, helping the Nets to a seven-point early lead by scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

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He missed his only two shots of the second quarter, going scoreless in five minutes of play, before catching fire again in the third period, scoring 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

The fourth quarter was tough. Russell scored four points on 2-of-10 shooting, missing all four of his 3-point attempts, as Brooklyn lost its seventh straight game overall and extended its losing skid at Barclays Center to seven games, as well.

Russell was 13-for-31 overall and 4-for-12 from deep and over his last four games has tossed enough bricks for an entire duplex.

In that span, Russell is 32-for-91, just 35.2 percent, overall. From 3-point range, he’s 12-for-37, a less-than-sparkling 32.4 percent.

That said, it’s not just Russell who has been off-target the last four games. No, the Nets as a whole have been the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. The math is frighteningly bad: 39.2 percent overall, 30.6 percent from long range.

Russell created what he could with six assists and he had eight rebounds, with a team-high four of them off the offensive window.

Jarrett Allen made four of his seven shots, but the other three Brooklyn starters — Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Spencer Dinwiddie — shot a combined 8-for-28, with Dinwiddie 6-for-14.

It hard to create much offense when no one is making shots.

As for Russell, he’s being asked to shoulder an awful lot of the load since Caris LeVert‘s injury. In 14 games with LeVert, Russell’s usage rate was 28.3 percent. In 11 games since, it’s 31.7 percent and Monday night, his usage rate was a season-high 41.6 percent.

That’s a lot of weight on the shoulders of one player, particularly one who struggles to finish at the rim. As crafty as Russell is as a ball-handler, he will likely always have trouble finishing drives because more athletic players can recover after he’s beaten them initially.

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D’Angelo Russell didn’t shoot efficiently Monday night. But even in the hyper-analytical era of the NBA, sometimes a team just needs a guy who can score when no one else can. Russell was that guy for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday and they nearly stole a win because of it.