Brooklyn Nets: D’Angelo Russell sends playoff sized message to us all

Brooklyn Nets. #1 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets. #1 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Right when it started becoming time to doubt the Brooklyn Nets and their push towards the playoffs, D’Angelo Russell decided it was time to send us all a message, a playoff sized message.

First off, I want to thank Brooklyn Nets all-star D’Angelo Russell for putting on one of the most incredible clinics I have ever seen in my entire. To answer the age-old question “are you not entertained?” Yes, I very much am. However, this is about so much more than one game, while the game in Sacramento vs the Kings itself happened, so did absolute magic.

For those of you that do not know us here at Empire Writes Back, we do not cover stories like a traditional news site. We don’t have to write updates or recaps about all 82 games in a grinding season, in any sport we cover, not just basketball.

Well, there are exceptions to everything. We are a site under FanSided, and us here at EWB tend to notice trends or things about sports and give our opinion on something. That is how we cover news and trends, by forming an opinion. Sharing our opinion is how we get our content.

Done Loading. D'Angelo's story to all-star is not what you would think. light

Tonight, I just had to write about this, and I write this just mere minutes after the Nets earned their season defining win vs the Kings, a win in which they came back from a 20-0 run to score 45 points in the fourth quarter to win and stay in a playoff spot.

This was supposed to be just another game, maybe even a more difficult game than usual considering the time difference and away environment the Nets were facing. However, D’Angelo Russell has given me no choice. I simply had to write about this game and about him.

Yes, he set the record for most threes made in a season in Nets history. Yes, he dropped a career high 44 points including 27 in the final 12 minutes that carried the Nets to the biggest comeback in franchise history. Russell also joined elite Nets company as one of few players in franchise history to score multiple 40 points games on the road in a season.

However, as great as all of that is, it means nothing if the Nets’ season had ended up turning into nothing. That is no longer the case. They won this Kings game months after it is one they would have lost. They won this Kings game right as it seemed like they were getting a reality check en-route to a mini collapse to knock them out of the playoffs. All of that is for not.

The Nets are still clinging onto that 7th and second to last playoff seed. The Nets have now ended their losing streak to go back up to .500 (37-36), they have a three game margin above the 9th and first seed out of the playoffs, and there are now less than 10 games left.

But, D’Angelo’s career high in points means a lot. Yes, it is an individual accomplishment in a sport where individual accolades and mentalities often take the spotlight and end up becoming the story. But, even in a game that looked lost, for a team that looked to be free-falling during their season’s most grueling stretch, it was the individual who needed to be great for the team to be great, who was indeed great.

And it hasn’t exactly been rainbows and sunshine for New York’s newest star the last little while either. Sure, he dropped 44 vs the Kings, and 32 vs the Clippers in the game prior, but before that his point marks were as such, 20,14,11,18,25,13,10. In those games, prior to Tuesday vs the Kings, the Nets went 4-4.

I know, 4-4 is not terrible, and simply getting bye and being mediocre is indeed going to be solid enough to get the Nets into the playoffs.

But, that is the beauty and joy of the message Russell sent. In an East Playoffs that will be consumed by the Emiid’s, the Giannis’, the Kyries’ and the Kahwi’s, it was the Nets’ star who took his team and proved to never count them out. It was the Nets’ star who knew that another loss could have made them walk the fine line between making the playoffs or not.

And it was the Nets’ star breaking team and personal records right as the season is about to hit its climax.

During a day and age where simply being able to score buckets makes you a star, it creates a special star knowing when and how to score to help your team reach its maximum potential and best possible outcome.

While the Nets are still “the process” that is just beginning to work, and the Nets will always be the little engine that could, it is the Nets, and it the Russell’s of the playoffs that I would look out for. You can’t teach clutch. You can’t teach ice-water in the veins, and you sure as heck can’t teach grit.

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Those things define this Nets team. D’Angelo Russell is the pulse of this Nets team. On a random Tuesday in the capital of California, we were reminded of that. The message has been sent. This Nets team will make the playoffs, or die trying. But either way, no one could argue anymore that Russell isn’t worthy of going.