3. Russell’s lull lost in glow of streak
After carrying the Brooklyn Nets for more than two months, D’Angelo Russell has cratered a bit over the last four games, even as the Nets have won all four of them.
Russell is averaging just 16.8 points per game over the last four games, even as he’s put up 7.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 27.3 minutes per game.
His shooting has been somewhere in the neighborhood of god awful — just 37.7 percent overall and an unsightly 28.1 percent on 8.0 3-point attempts per game.
Russell has even been bitten by the free throw shooting slump that seems to have taken over the entire roster, as he’s made just 6-of-13 at the line over the last four games. He’s at 80.5 percent for the season even after the slump, so that’s a big departure from the norm.
Russell is still on pace to have the best shooting season of his career — his slash line of .432/.363/.805 all represent career-highs — and he’s averaged career-bests of 20.3 points and 6.8 assists per game as well.
But on a seven-game road trip that could have a huge impact on where the Nets will be seeded in the Eastern Conference or if they will even qualify for the playoffs at all, Brooklyn needs Russell to get back to the All-Star level he had been at.
He’s the unquestioned leader of the Nets and stepping up in big games is what leaders are asked to do.