On his 23rd birthday, D’Angelo Russell took matters into his own hands as he scored 14 points in the final 3:24 of the game and the Brooklyn Nets survived a Charlotte Hornets barrage in the 4th quarter.
In a game that the Brooklyn Nets absolutely needed to win, their young All-Star took control late to save the day. D’Angelo Russell tied his career high with 40 points and scored the Nets’ final 12 points as he led the Nets over the Hornets on the road in a game with major playoff implications.
The Hornets erased a 19-point deficit in the second half as Kemba Walker scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half to help give the Hornets the lead late before Russell took over and iced the game.
Russell became the youngest player in NBA history to score at least 40 points on his birthday and showed tons of patience late in the game. Walker got hot to give the Hornets the lead, but Russell would stay a step ahead, winning the matchup of the All-Star guards.
Russell missed a shot with seven seconds left and the Hornets had one last chance to tie or take the lead. Walker’s 3-point shot was blocked by Caris LeVert‘s elbow and the Nets narrowly escaped Charlotte with a W as the Hornets bench was left looking for a foul that never came.
With the Nets and Hornets facing each other at Barclays Center again on Friday, this win gave the Nets momentum and a 2-1 edge in the season series.
The Nets showed signs of maturity after blowing a 19-point lead in the second half. As the Spectrum Center grew louder, the Nets didn’t let that faze them and regained control to gain an important road win.
Behind Russell’s offensive display and key defensive stops by the team, the Nets didn’t let their early season fourth-quarter struggles come back to haunt them down the stretch.
With six of their next eight games at Barclays Center, the Nets look to continue to hold onto sixth place in the Eastern Conference as they wait for Spencer Dinwiddie to return from injury.