It’s been a dream season for D’Angelo Russell on the eve of free agency. He made the all-star team in the East, he’s leading the Nets back to the NBA playoffs. He threw a signature performance onto the pile of goodness on Tuesday, too: Russell scored 27 in the fourth quarter to lead a 28-point Nets comeback on the road against the Kings to get Brooklyn back above .500.
Were you also aware that Russell was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka traded him to open up salary cap space eventually used for one-year rentals for Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, and Lance Stephenson? It’s true.
Russell finished with 44 overall, a career high. His thirst for buckets in the fourth was legitimately unquenchable: he shot 10-for-15 from the floor and 4-7 from behind the arc. And don’t get it twisted: the Kings weren’t tanking. They have no reason to do so, even though they’re are out of the playoff race in the West. Russell did this to De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield and the rest of the Kings starters, for the most part.
He didn’t do it himself, though. Jared Dudley hit the three to give the Nets the lead with a minute left. After Sacramento equalized, it was Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who hit the game-winning layup with a second left.
And then Russell talked that talk.
Meanwhile, the Lakers lost to the Bucks by 14 to fall to 31-39 on the season.
Sixers 118, Hornets 114
Rockets 121, Hawks 105
Lakers 101, Bucks 115
Warriors 117, Timberwolves 107
Nets 123, Kings 121
Pacers 109, Clippers 115
All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.
Bucks at Cavaliers, 7
Pelicans at Magic, 7
Celtics at Sixers, 7, ESPN
Jazz at Knicks, 7:30
Wizards at Bulls, 8
Rockets at Grizzlies, 8
Heat at Spurs, 8:30
Raptors at Thunder, 9:30, ESPN
Mavericks at Blazers, 10
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