D’Angelo Russell snapped out of his personal five-game slump, hitting 13-of-24 and carrying most of the Brooklyn Nets offense with 33 points.
He did what he could with the offense stagnant and stalled, with movement off the ball lagging often and passing lanes closed down as a result.
Part of that is on Russell as the point guard, but the lack of side-to-side ball movement to get the defense scrambling was a byproduct of a lack of open cutters. That was in part due to an officiating crew that was calling a ton of illegal screens on both sides.
Hard to cut off a screen when the whistle blows, after all.
But Russell had his mid-range game working well and was more aggressive going to the rim than he has been in awhile. On a bad night overall for the Nets, Russell’s performance stood out positively.
DeMarre Carroll stepped into the void left by a relatively ineffective Rodions Kurucs and gave the Nets some life at the 3.
He was particularly aggressive getting to the basket, even as his 3-point shot (0-for-3) wasn’t falling. Carroll also did good work on the glass and helped Brooklyn spark a first-half rally of sorts with some fast-break opportunities.
Carroll did that work both as an outlet man off the rebound and by leaking out behind the Charlotte defense in transition to get to the basket for open layups.
This is a Carroll who can be very valuable to Brooklyn as a defender and as an offensive force. Carroll tends to hang at the 3-point line even when the shots aren’t falling, but on Friday he looked for opportunities to get to the basket or get fouled.