D’Angelo Russell dropped a career-high 44 points as the Brooklyn Nets came back from a 28-point deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings.
What. A. Game.
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Matched up with the feisty Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets came into Tuesday’s game looking to break a three-game losing streak. After falling short during the first trio of games during their seven-game road trip, the Nets needed a big statement victory.
For the first quarter of this game, a statement victory seemed to be the last thing on the players’ minds.
Brooklyn put together one its worst defensive performances in recent memory to start off this game and allowed nearly 40 points in the first quarter. For a team that has been one of the better defensive teams (according to defensive rating) since the All-Star break, the complete and utter lack of focus was certainly discouraging.
After showing some fight during the second quarter, the Nets again came out flat to start the second half. Sacramento pilled onto its lead, breaking 100 points by the 2:09 mark in the third quarter.
The Nets meanwhile were left in the dust and finished the third with 78 points.
Then, the Nets’ All-Star took over.
D’Angelo Russell hit a whole new level of sickness during the fourth. Russell poured in 27 points during the final period of the game as the Nets raced back on a furious 28-point comeback. They had trailed by 25 — 103-78 — entering the fourth quarter.
With the game on the line, the Sacramento Kings inbounded the ball. It eventually landed in the hands of their star rookie, Marvin Bagley III.
Bagley, who had been killing the Nets all game long (more on this later), sized up the two Net defenders standing in his way, took a few dribbles and readied his move.
Right at this time, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson reached in for the steal, dislodging the ball so that Bagley dropped it out of bounds.
On the other side of the court, it was Brooklyn’s turn to run a game-winning inbound play. With the game on the line and the scored tie 121-121, the ball ended up in the hands its most reliable offensive player, Rondae Hol — wait what?
That’s right. With five seconds remaining in the game, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson wound up with the ball in his arms. From there, he did what he does best: put his head down and drove to the rim.
From there, the Kings’ Buddy Hield launched a full-court attempt that didn’t even graze front-rim. Game.
Rondae’s incredible play capped off Brooklyn’s best victory of the season. For a team that has looked lost since the All-Star break, perhaps Tuesday’s victory can catapult Brooklyn into the postseason. After all, they were in need of a statement win.