NEW YORK – All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell once again emerged as the leader of the Brooklyn Nets’ offense as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs 101-85 on Monday.
Russell scored 23 points and made eight assists and seven rebounds to help the Nets run over the Spurs, who came up with their worst offensive game of the season.
“You gotta give him some freedom, I think that’s part of the reason he’s flourished. He needs a certain amount of freedom. He’s a creative player, he plays well with freedom and a green light,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said of Russell at his post-match press conference.
One night after their defense game was practically absent in an embarrassing defeat to the New York Knicks, San Antonio traveled to another neighborhood of the Big Apple, and lost touch with its offensive game, to the dismay of coach Gregg Popovich, whose team is going through a crisis of confidence.
The Spurs registered their most disappointing score of the season after coming into the match as the team with the highest percentage of successful three-pointers (40 percent).
However, against the Nets, they managed just two three pointers from 24 attempts.
The dismal performance left the Spurs with their third consecutive loss, and a 1-7 win-loss record in their annual road trip known as the “Rodeo,” as their home, the AT&T Center, hosts the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
Power forward Joe Harris and shooting guard Caris LeVert netted 15 points each for the Nets, as the team posted 19 3-pointers in the game, and secured their second consecutive victory.
The Nets now enjoy a 32-30 win-loss record and are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, on course for a berth in the playoffs.
The Spurs’ attack was led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who posted a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds.
With a 33-29 record, the Spurs remain in eighth place in the Western Conference, but with just one game advantage over the Sacramento Kings, who also suffered a defeat on Monday night at the hands of Minnesota Timberwolves (112-105).
Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan netted 23 points and was the second-highest scorer for the Spurs, while reserve power forward Rudy Gay contributed another 13.
Spain’s veteran center Pau Gasol was once again deprived of action as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kept him on the bench.