BROOKLYN – The Nets had lost eight games in a row entering Monday’s tilt against the Bulls, Jarrett Allen made sure it didn’t reach nine.
The Nets rookie center had arguably the play of the season for the team as he annihilated Lauri Markkanen on a dunk that breathed life into the struggling home side. Brooklyn would respond to Allen’s breathtaking play by going outscoring Chicago 55-36 in the second half to seal a 104-87 victory.
Allen Crabbe led the Nets with 21 points, hitting four threes, while Kris Dunn paced the visitors with 23 points and four assists.
Allen Gives Nets Much-Needed Spark
Brooklyn started off the third with a 9-0 run, but the Bulls quickly responded with a 7-0 run. It appeared as if the Nets would fall into a familiar script of falling to be assertive when they have the lead. Then Allen decided to take over the third quarter to devastating effect.
With the Nets up just 58-56, D’Angelo Russell spotted Allen cutting to the basket and hit the center with a pinpoint pass through two defenders. All that stood between him and the rim was Lauri Markkanen. The 19-year-old charged into the basketball fearlessly and destroyed the Bulls Finnish rookie standout, bringing the Barclays Center crowd to their feet.
It’s a play that will likely lead all of the highlight shows on Monday night and could be a Dunk of the Year contender. It’s also a play that woke up the Nets from the doldrums, igniting a 15-0 run. Brooklyn would never relinquish its lead and Allen played a big role in that. He finished that quarter with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, four rebounds and two blocks.
Crabbe Remains Hot
After spending months to find consistency on offense, Crabbe continued his impressive February with another strong outing.
The 25-year-old came into Monday’s game averaging 17.1 points and 4.4 rebound while hitting 40 percent from downtown. That’s a significant improvement from December where he averaged just 10.6 points, 4.1 rebounds on 35 percent shooting.
Crabbe’s teammates have joked that when he plays well, he’s AC and when he’s tentative, he’s Allen.
There’s been no sight of Allen this month.
Brooklyn’s Backcourt Powers Offensive Improvement
Brooklyn’s top two perimeter scorers combined for just 11 points on a 4-for-15 shooting, yet they were a major factor in sealing the Nets’ victory.
The two guards combined for 17 assists with just three turnover, being the playmaking engine that allowed the frontcourt to thrive against the Bulls. It was the second the Nets have had two players who had more than eight assists each. Their impact could also be seen in the Real Plus Minus stats as Dinwidde was +26 and Russell was +11.
The Nets dished out 30 assists on Monday, marking the third time this season that Brooklyn has handed out 30 plus assists in a game.