Brooklyn Nets: D’Angelo Russell the lone offensive threat

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a game in which the Brooklyn Nets hit season lows in scoring and 3-point shooting, D’Angelo Russell did everything he could to carry the offense.

As bad as things went offensively for the Brooklyn Nets in Friday’s 100-87 loss to the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center, imagine how much worse it could have been had D’Angelo Russell not carried much of the offensive load.

Russell snapped out of a five-game cold spell, hitting 13-of-24 en route to a game-high 33 points in a game in which Brooklyn set season lows for points (87) and 3-point shooting (14.8 percent).

Russell was only 2-of-8 from long range — half of the Nets’ four makes on the night — and had two assists as Brooklyn’s ball movement that had carried them through a run of nine wins in 10 games evaporated.

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The Nets had just 15 assists on the night, their second-lowest total of the season, and on a team where so many guys have been knocking down shots, Russell was really the only consistent threat Brooklyn had on Friday.

The rest of the Nets starters combined to shoot 6-for-27, 0-of-7 from deep, and scored 19 points total.

Russell was aggressively looking for his shot as the offense stalled out and hit an array of floaters, mid-range jumpers and got to the basket more than he has in awhile as well.

He had eight of Brooklyn’s 17 first-quarter points, going 4-for-8 as his teammates combined to shoot 2-for-17 in the period.

Russell followed that up with eight more points in the second quarter on 3-of-5 shooting. The rest of the club was 6-for-17.

Yes, this was sort of a theme.

The fourth-year guard from Ohio State scored 10 points in the third quarter, six in the final 4:40 as the Nets closed the period on a 12-3 run to get to within eight points after trailing by double-digits most of the game.

Russell closed the game with seven points in the fourth quarter, hitting 2-of-3 from the floor.

The 13-for-24 performance comes on the heels of a five-game run during which Russell had shot just 36.7 percent, averaging 14.4 points per game and hitting only 30.3 percent from 3-point range.

The radical swings in his shooting continue to plague him this season. In December alone, Russell has three games with at least 30 points, including Friday, and four in which he’s scored in single digits, including just three points in Brooklyn’s loss to the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 21.

He’s 22 years old and consistency may still be a matter of time, experience and maturity. He’s now shooting 41.9 percent overall this season — a career-high — and hitting 35.5 percent from 3-point range — also a career-best.

His averages of 17.9 points and 6.1 assists lead the team and are the best rates of his career and on a night when the rest of the team struggled, Russell stepped up and tried his best to carry the Nets.

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But on a night when every player not named D’Angelo Russell combined to shoot just 20-for-59 (33.9 percent) and made just 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) from long range, it was just too much to ask.