D’Angelo Russell scores 20, leads Nets to first playoff berth since 2014-15

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and D’Angelo Russell combine to score 57 points as the Brooklyn Nets clinch their first playoff appearance in four years.

Coming into Sunday’s game against Indiana, the Brooklyn Nets were in control of their own playoff destiny. After winning a nail-biting game against the Milwaukee Bucks the day before, the Nets were in a position to possibly clinch a playoff spot.

After a Miami loss earlier in the day, all the Nets had to do was win and they were in.

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From tipoff, the Nets played with a sense of urgency and performed like a team that wanted to make the playoffs. They started off the game on a 9-0 run and never trailed after taking a lead with 4:19 left in the first quarter.

D’Angelo Russell poured in 20 points along with six assists and six rebounds. Caris LeVert continued his stretch of good basketball with 18 points and five rebounds while Joe Harris added four 3s and finished with 19 points.

Every time the Pacers looked to make a comeback, the Nets would deny their attempt. They would lead by eight at the half, 13 at the end of the third quarter and had a lead as large as 18 in the fourth quarter.

The Nets broke a playoff drought that lasted four years and will finish with a .500 or better record for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

With the lack of draft picks and talent given to coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks at the beginning of their tenure three years ago, this quick turnaround feels extra good for the organization and its fans.

Brooklyn was projected to win 32 games this year according to ESPN and Bleacher Report had the Nets at 29. The Nets surprised everyone this season and turned their season around after it looked like their season was over in December.

After falling to 8-18, the spark would come from a overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors. After that, the Nets would reel off seven straight victories to get them back in the playoff hunt and the  legend of D’Angelo Russell was born.

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The Nets look to be a tough out in the playoffs as the young and hungry team from Brooklyn looks to make some noise in April.