The Nets pulled off an unlikely win Tuesday against the Kings after being down 28 points in the second half — and the comeback came behind D’Angelo Russell’s strong night.
Russell scored a career-high 44 points with 27 coming in the fourth quarter, the most by an individual in a fourth quarter in the NBA this season. He scored 17 points in the first half, and didn’t have a single point in the third quarter.
The 23-year-old guard wasn’t willing to take all the credit, though. After Brooklyn’s 123-121 victory over Sacramento, Russell attributed the win to his teammates for allowing him to get open.
“I give a lot of credit to our bigs,” Russell said, per The Associated Press. “They set screens and got me open, got me downhill. Once you get downhill, any player that can get downhill and see the floor like that and see the rim wide open, the sky’s the limit.
“Once you get in that groove it’s hard to get you out of it. No matter what defense a team throws at you, you’re going to find a way to get it done. That’s kind of what it was.”
The Nets entered the fourth quarter trailing by 25. According to ESPN, they became just the fourth team since the shot-clock era started in 1954-55 to overcome a 25-point fourth-quarter deficit.
“We were at our wit’s end, it was kind of desperation,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson. “It was a little bit like, ‘Let’s conserve our main guys and kind of play it out.’ I wasn’t expecting an amazing comeback, I just have to be honest. And then slowly but surely we started cutting the lead.”
The victory gave the Nets a 37-36 record as they sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of the eighth-place Heat.