At the beginning of the season, the Brooklyn Nets probably didn't have a February matchup with the Charlotte Hornets circled as a must-win, but that's exactly what it became. With the latest slideshow – 3-7 in their last 10 games – and the Hornets sitting one game back in the playoff picture, the stakes were high in Charlotte.
It was immediately clear that Brooklyn wanted to repent for their against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. There was an increased focus this game on securing rebounds on both ends of the floor which paid off as the Nets outrebounded the Hornets 26-20 early in the contest. The angels have a much better night shooting from deep than they hit 1
D'Angelo Russell from WAY DOWNTOWN!
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– YES Network (@YESNetwork) February 24, 2019
Their improved play gave the Nets an 18- point lead early in the second quarter, a strange blowout for a squad that usually takes the full four quarters to beat an opponent. Of course, with this team, it is never that simple. The Hornets quickly cut the lead to single-digits before Brooklyn stabilized, then slipped and let the Hornets close in again. Then, thankfully, Jarrett Allen added Kemba Walker to his list at the end
– Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 24, 2019
It was quintessential Brooklyn basketball and who would have it any other way?
Coming out of the break, the Nets looked hot as they quickly extended the lead all the way to 19 – then All-Star in Walker woke up. He was quiet in the first half, shooting 2-for-9 and generally having a hard time getting into a rhythm. Those early woes were forgotten in the second half as he hit pull-up three after pull-up three to the horns back into the game. Four minutes into the fourth, they tied the game at 94-94. One minute later, they took the lead for the first time since the first quarter as the Charlotte crowd roared.
Yeah, that sounds like Nets basketball.
Here's the thing though – Brooklyn has their own All-Star and D Angelo Russell was not ready to lose.
He played the part of the hero as he took over, scoring the Nets' last 12 points in the last 2:30 of game time. He was on a mission as he hit clutch shots all over the floor to push his team to the finish line, where Caris LeVert sealed the game by blocking Walker's shot with his elbow.
Now THAT is Brooklyn Nets basketball.