Brooklyn Nets: D’Angelo Russell big in 3rd quarter, gone in 4th

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets made things interesting Monday in the 3rd quarter when D’Angelo Russell scored 14 points, but he sat the final 8:42 over an effort issue.

D’Angelo Russell put on a shooting display in the third quarter of the Brooklyn Nets’ 112-104 loss to the Boston Celtics Monday night at TD Garden, but sat out much of the fourth quarter of a game that got away from Brooklyn in the final 12 minutes.

Russell scored 14 points for the Nets in the third quarter, knocking down 5-of-6 shots overall and canning 3-of-4 from 3-point range, including three deep balls in a row during a 17-2 run that gave Brooklyn its first lead of the game midway through the period.

But Russell, who finished with a game-high 25 points in just 24 minutes of action, did not play the final 8:42 of the game.

Afterward, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said Russell was taken out for some rebounding breakdowns in the fourth quarter, per Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily.

At first glance, it seems strange to penalize a point guard for rebounding issues.

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But with the Nets playing short-handed on Monday, with six players sidelined with injuries, Brooklyn was doing some different things defensively.

In the fourth quarter, Russell was playing a forward spot in the Nets’ 2-3 matchup zone and failed to box out on a couple of missed shots during one key Boston possession.

Gordon Hayward missed a corner 3, but Russell did not get a body on Boston’s Jaylen Brown on the weak side. Brown got the board and got the ball to Marcus Morris above the break for a 3-pointer.

Morris misfired, but Brown again outmaneuvered Russell for the offensive board, missing his putback attempt before Marcus Morris, on the fourth shot of the possession, finally spun one around the rim and in.

That basket, with nine minutes remaining, gave Boston a seven-point lead as part of a critical 13-2 run that allowed them to put the game away after the Nets entered the fourth quarter down by just a single point at 89-88.

Russell turned the ball over on Brooklyn’s ensuing possession when he was called for an iffy offensive foul against Morris while attempting to drive to the rim.

Atkinson yanked Russell at that point, spoke to him as he headed to the sideline and Russell retreated to the very end of the bench area for a few minutes, sitting on a table past the end of the bench before rejoining his teammates.

According to Sean Devaney of The Sporting News, Russell had not talked with Atkinson about the situation.

Russell was 10-for-20 on the night, including 4-of-8 from deep, and now has 48 3-pointers this month, breaking the franchise record for a single month. In January, he’s averaging 23.2 points, 7.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 30 minutes per game.

He’s shooting a very solid 49.2 percent overall and 43.2 percent from deep while leading Brooklyn to a 10-3 record so far this month, the club’s first month with double-digit wins since the Nets were 12-4 in March 2014.

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The Nets return home to host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and played Monday with just 10 available players — both things that could have been additional factors in the decision to keep Russell on the bench as Boston pushed its lead into double digits in the fourth quarter.