The game against the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday looked like it was destined to be over by the third quarter. Sacramento were cruising through this game and the commentators were even chatting about everything else, but the game.
The Nets were down 25 points to start the final frame, and Brooklyn’s fight to secure their Playoff spot looked hopeless. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, was clearly frustrated by his team and gambled on a fresh new lineup to close out the quarter; featuring D’Angelo Russell, Treveon Graham, Jared Dudley, Rodions Kurucs and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was watching this last quarter. Russell (pictured) scored 27 points in an 8-minute stretch, finishing the game with 44 points and penciling in yet another career high. Most improved player anyone? Brooklyn had its greatest comeback in franchise history, completing the game and taking the win at 123-121.
Russell’s 44 points were amazing to watch, but the most shocking part was how he got most of them. With his signature high-arcing 3-pointers, the grunt of his scoring came from the man driving into the paint, over, and over, and over again. To put this in perspective of how rare this is from him, in Russell’s first 262 games of his career, he has only scored 4 or more points in the paint, just 18 times.
That’s what’s interesting about D’Angelo, he can go super hot like Tuesday night, then follow it up with an ice-cold performance. He’s capable of scoring from really high, contested shots that he can sink from anywhere, but has trouble creating those ‘easy shots’ that could turn those cold nights into an average one.
Catch you Monday.