D’Angelo Russell came back from his four-day break with a bang, posting his third double-double of the season and running the offense like a magician with 22 points and 13 dimes.
The key stat for Russell was this one: Just one turnover.
He was focused, did some terrific things at the defensive end — his challenge on Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter changed the shot, even though nothing shows up in the box score — and had the offense running with Swiss-watch precision.
His deliveries to a cutting Joe Harris as the Nets were protecting the lead late in the game were huge factors in closing out the win, as well.
Russell even spent some time playing the small forward spot in Brooklyn’s 2-3 zone looks when they went super-small. One has to wonder how long it’s been since he played down there regularly.
Jarrett Allen didn’t match numbers with New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis, but no one expected him to. What he did, however, was make AD work for his points and created some defensive problems on the inside.
Davis got his numbers and then some — 34 points and a career-high 26 rebounds — but Allen was a constant presence and forced Davis to the perimeter rather than letting him get those momentum-changing dunks and highlight plays.
Offensively, Allen was solid on the boards, set terrific picks in the high screen-and-roll game and made his free throws when he got the opportunity.
Throw in his 13th double-double of the season and it was not a bad night’s work at all.