NBA Basketball

121
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Orlando 27 28 36 30 121
Brooklyn 29 29 31 37 126
126
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CTNaN:� , October 20, 2017
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York  Attendance: 16,144

Russell, Nets fend off Magic

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- NEW YORK -- On the agonizing flight from Indiana after realizing he suffered a season-ending knee injury, Jeremy Lin mentioned to Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson that the team was "better-equipped" to handle it.

Watching D'Angelo Russell make plays in crunch time is likely what Lin meant.

Hours after Lin underwent knee surgery, Russell scored six of his 17 points down the stretch as Brooklyn withstood a career-high 41 points from Nikola Vucevic to beat the Orlando Magic 126-121 in its home opener Friday night.

Russell checked back in with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Nets nursing a 110-106 lead. After he committed his eighth turnover, Orlando was within 110-108 on a hoop by Vucevic. But Russell then hit a pair of layups on consecutive possessions for a 117-110 lead with 2:24 remaining and added a 19-footer with 83 seconds left.

Russell's final clutch shot occurred after Evan Fournier made a 3-pointer to get Orlando to within 117-116. The Nets then survived a 3-pointer by Terrence Ross with 14 seconds left and a missed 3-pointer by Fournier with three seconds left.

The Nets sealed the win with two free throws by Trevor Booker with nine-tenths of a second left.

"That's just a talented player and he's going to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game," said Atkinson, who referred to Russell's crossover drive on rookie Jonathan Isaac to the rim as a "jitterbug" move. "He made a couple of spectacular plays to get to the rim."

Russell made 8 of 16 shots after getting 30 in his Brooklyn debut Wednesday in Indiana.

"It was just a reaction, honestly," Russell said of his crossover move. "I was just trying to make something happen."

Russell was among six players in double figures for the Nets, who shot 63 percent in the fourth quarter and 50 percent overall in improving to 5-1 in home openers since moving from New Jersey in 2012.

"It was tough," Booker said of Russell's plays down the stretch. "He said he got ice in his veins and he showed it tonight."

DeMarre Carroll also contributed 17 points and eight rebounds while Booker added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Fellow reserve Spencer Dinwiddie added 16 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson spent time defending Vucevic and contributed 15 while Joe Harris chipped in 10.

Allen Crabbe started for Lin, who played in 36 games last season when Russell was on the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets lost 62 games.

Vucevic surpassed his previous career high of 37 and also hit a career-high six 3-pointers -- three more than his previous career best. He added 12 rebounds and hit 17 of 22 shots but it was not enough for Orlando, which lost despite hitting 18 3-pointers.

"I can't imagine him having a better game than he did tonight," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said of Vucevic. "His shot-making was ridiculous."

Fournier added 22 for Orlando, which played without Aaron Gordon (ankle) and lost Elfrid Payton (hamstring) for the second half.

Before Russell's clutch shots, the Nets held an eight-point lead with about eight minutes remaining on a nifty put-back by Carroll but Orlando took a 91-89 lead into the fourth on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by reserve Jonathan Simmons.

Orlando never led after Bismack Biyombo hit a free throw 3 1/2 minutes into the fourth despite hanging around the rest of the game.

"Our defense is what hurt us this game," Vucevic said. "We were able to score. We just never got stops."

NOTES: Brooklyn G Jeremy Lin underwent surgery Friday after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee Wednesday. Lin was visited by coach Kenny Atkinson, whom he has known since their time with the New York Knicks in 2012. "We were just in our comfort zone," Atkinson said. "We've known each other a long time. That's what makes this harder." ... Brooklyn GM Sean Marks said the team might use the disabled player exception to add a player. The deadline is Jan. 15. "We're looking at all kinds of options," Marks said. "That's one tool we have. It's about being strategic and systematic in our approach." ... F Aaron Gordon (sore left ankle) participated in Orlando's morning shoot-around. Gordon also tested the ankle by jumping rope before the game. ... Brooklyn rookie Jarett Allen (19 years, 182 days) is the second-youngest player to appear in a game in franchise history. The youngest was Derrick Favors, who was 19 years, 104 days on Oct. 27, 2010.

Updated October 20, 2017

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