Chicago Bulls 105-114 Brooklyn Nets: Three Takeaways

BROOKLYN – Sometimes the best birthday gift is the one you get yourself. That was certainly the case for Allen Crabbe, whose stunning career-high 41 points on his 26th birthday sparked the Nets to a 114-105 victory over the Bulls. 

Crabbe got hot early and never looked back as he scored 17 of Brooklyn’s opening 19 points against Chicago at Fan Appreciation Night.

“I shook his hand after the game and it was still hot, still cooking,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “I thought his overall game was good, obviously started out hot and kept it going…He’s really finishing the season the way we’re asking the team to finish, on a strong note.”

Crabbe was also aided by strong performances from D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, who combined for 41 points and 18 assists. Former Net Sean Kilpatrick led the Bulls with 16 points.

After missing out a three-game win streak on their previous four attempts, Brooklyn finally accomplished the feat on Monday. The Nets can extend that streak to four games on Wednesday when they travel to Boston to face the Celtics.

Crabbe Goes For 41

Confident, Assertive, Dangerous – Crabbe was nothing short of incredible against the Bulls, who had no answer for the guard.

Crabbe was feeling it from the start against the Bulls as he scored 17 of Brooklyn’s 19 points. He would enter halftime with 29 points on 8-of-10 shooting. In the second half, he would continue to assert himself with another 12 points to cap off a career night. Put this into perspective, Crabbe missed just three shots for the entire game in a highly-efficient and effective outburst against Chicago. He is now averaging 28.6 points on 61.4 percent shooting.

“The ball’s going in the hoop for me. Like I’ve said from the jump, I’ve been capable of doing this all season,” Crabbe said about his recent hot streak. “So I mean its starting to come around for me. I’m starting to find my rhythm, and you know just getting more comfortable within the flow of the offense.

“Tonight was just a night where I’m glad I had a night on my birthday, and we got the win. It just puts the cherry on top.”

Dante Cunningham, who has played with several stars around the NBA, including Brandon Roy in his prime and Anthony Davis, called Crabbe’s performance one of the best he’s seen.

“That’s definitely a top [performance],” Cunningham told BrooklynNets.com. “This late in the season, to continue to get better and that’s 40 points. It’s just tremendous leadership on his part and our part to still be locked in.”


When D’Angelo Russell finished the first quarter with two points on 1-for-5 shooting, it appeared as if his recent slump had carried into another game. But thankfully for the Nets and their fans, that wasn’t the case.

Russell would pour in 19 points in the remaining 36 minutes to finish with 21 points and once again showed off his versatility with 11 assists and six rebounds.

“I try to pass the ball to whoever’s open. Coach gives me that freedom,” Russell said. “The more I’m here, the more trust will slowly elevate, but we got shot-makers around here. They make it easier for me so I appreciate my teammates for that.”

The Return of Dinwiddie

All Dinwiddie needed was a fresh cut. The 25-year-old trimmed his season-long Afro to go with a low Caesar in the final home game of the season and it appeared to reinvigorate his game. 

Reinserted into the starting lineup due to injuries to DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris, Dinwiddie poured in 20 points and seven assists – looking like the clutch player he was earlier in the season. No moment exemplified it more than his timely three with 7:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bulls had trimmed the score to 93-90 before Dinwiddie’s gave the hosts a six-point cushion.

“I thought Spencer got back to old Spencer,” Atkinson said. “He was aggressive, he was driving it, he was getting to the rim and that’s who he’s been 90 percent of the year.”

Dinwiddie had his struggles over the past month as he was averaging 8.8 points and 5.5 assists on 35.5 percent shooting in April. Atkinson believes that some of Dinwiddie’s recent struggles were down to fatigue.

“He had a little blip where he wasn’t as aggressive and quite honestly, thinking about it, I think some of that could have been fatigue. We played him a lot of minutes, we’ve relied on him for a long time, but I thought it was great tonight…I thought Spencer was really, really good tonight.”