Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell has had a season of highs and lows, but he was on very much of a high ebb in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Russell bounced back in a big way Sunday from his most recent mini-slump, scoring 32 points and dishing out seven assists in a 144-127 victory over the Atlanta Hawks as the Nets ran their winning streak to five games.
If consistency can be described as a player’s performance mapping out as a nearly flat line, Russell’s chart has more of a Rocky Mountains appearance — lots of peaks and valleys.
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After scoring 29 points in Brooklyn’s overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 7, Russell had been ensconced in one of those valleys, scoring 29 points over the next three games, even as his passing was on point with 27 assists over that stretch.
Russell hit just 12-of-36 overall in that three-game span, victories over the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards, and was 4-for-11 from 3-point range.
With the defensively challenged Hawks in town Sunday afternoon, Russell exceeded his scoring total from the previous three games with an ultra-efficient 13-for-19 performance that included five 3-pointers in nine attempts.
And after a five-turnover performance against the Wizards on Friday, Russell had his third turnover-free game of the season and his first since Nov. 10 against the Golden State Warriors.
Throw in Russell’s six rebounds, two steals and team-best plus-27 mark in his 29 minutes and it was a whale of a game for DLo.
Russell now has four games this season in which he’s scored at least 30 points. He’s also had six in which he’s been held to single-digits.
His 13-for-19 shooting marked his highest percentage game of the season at 68.4 percent, topping his 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) shooting on Oct. 28 against Golden State.
But as he’s now had two plus-60 percent games this season, Russell has also been below 30 percent five times.
He’s had nine games with one or no turnovers over the first 31 games of the campaign. He’s had five or more turnovers in six different games, including a season-high eight in the infamous double-overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 30.
Russell will turn 23 in late February and is only in his fourth NBA season. If there is one great truth about point guard play in today’s NBA, it is that the adjustment can take awhile. Consistency can be elusive.
But as a restricted-free-agent-to-be, Russell could help his market value considerably if he could play more like DHi than DLo.