Brooklyn Nets welcome back Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Forwards return from injury in 104-87 win over Chicago
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was in a good mood - a bit of a jokester mood even - and why not?
For the first time in nearly a month, the Nets forward was back in action, and in a 104-87 win on top of that, snapping an eight-game skid.
"I wouldn't say because I was on the court, nah, I'm going to say it was because I was on the court," laughed Hollis-Jefferson about the impact of his return. "I'm going to say because my energy, my presence, being out there, not necessarily shooting and doing everything else, but just my presence. They could touch me, give me a high-five. Yeah, 100 percent. And Caris too, and Caris."
The return of Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert brought the band back together for Brooklyn. Notwithstanding the opening night loss of Jeremy Lin, it essentially gave the Nets their full complement for one of the rare times, something they're hoping to carry through for the final seven weeks of the season.
D'Angelo Russell missed 32 games before returning on Jan. 19. Hollis-Jefferson was injured a week later and LeVert on Feb. 6. The Nets went 1-10 in the 11 games Hollis-Jefferson missed. LeVert was out for the last six of those.
"It felt good to be out there, compete, play with the guys," said Hollis- Jefferson. "It was a little rough offensively for me. I got beat a couple times defensively. I guess that's just me getting my feel back and touch and all that."
LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson played 21 minutes each, a number coach Kenny Atkinson said he'd feel comfortable escalating on the second night of a back-to-back at Cleveland on Tuesday. LeVert had six points and four assists, while Hollis-Jefferson had seven points and four rebounds.
With the Nets limiting Chicago to 87 points and 35.5 percent shooting - 26.1 percent from 3-point range - it certainly seemed helpful to have the two rangy 6-foot-7 wings - two of Brooklyn's top defenders - back on the floor.
"I think you saw the intensity Caris brought on the defensive end, as well as the plays he made around the basket and the more his feel and rhythm continues to come back, same with Rondae, they're going to continue to be dynamic, just like they were before they got hurt," said Spencer Dinwiddie. "They definitely help us out a ton."
Mostly though, it was good just to be back on the floor.
"I had fun though," said Hollis-Jefferson. "I had fun."