New York Post

Guard duo misfires, but B’klyn still sizzles vs. Heat


It may take time to get Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell clicking at the same time, but early returns say the 2017-18 Nets actually may be deep and balanced enough to get by with one or the other excelling. And that would be a vast improvemen­t over last season’s mess.

The Nets cruised to a 107-88 win over Miami in Thursday’s preseason home opener. They beat the Heat despite a quiet Barclays Center debut by Russell, the same way they beat the Knicks in Tuesday’s preseason opener despite an off night by Lin.

That’s what happens when you outrebound the Heat 62-37, hold them to 37.2 percent shooting and get scoring from throughout the lineup.

“It’s been rough the past few years, but it’s on us to win [the fans’] loyalty back and keep putting in the work day-in and day-out, so that they feel comfortabl­e cheering for Brooklyn again,” Rondae HollisJeff­erson said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

Hollis-Jefferson had 10 points and he, DeMarre Carroll, Timofey Mozgov and Trevor Booker each had eight rebounds.

Lin had a team-high 16 points af- ter shooting just 2-of-9 in Tuesday’s opener, but Russell had just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting with four turnovers Thursday. That the Nets still won bodes well — at least as well as preseason can bode.

“Very positive. You feel the difference already. We haven’t started the regular season so we have to be cautious, [but] I do feel we have a stronger 1 through 15,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “That speaks to when you have depth and balance. That’s how we’re going to have to do it.”

Sean Kilpatrick had 14 points while Hollis-Jefferson and a confident-looking Joe Harris each added 10. Spencer Dinwiddie had a team-high seven assists as he solidifies his role as the first guard off the bench, with Booker and Quincy Acy the first bigs.

Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert, both battling ankle sprains, sat for the second straight game.

Lin took a shot to the back early in the game and wasn’t on the bench late because he was getting treatment. But he said he’s fine and left the game purely because of predetermi­ned minutes restrictio­ns.

Lin told The Post he’s trying to work on his craftiness and guile, and Atkinson said he wants Russell to become more of an attacker and has “addressed” the young guard’s shot selection.

“Just craftiness and shiftiness, very subtle stuff, footwork, dropping the shoulder a little bit more on crossovers. Stuff like that is kind of what I worked on,” said Lin.

“Yes,” said Atkinson, “I do want [Russell] to be more of an attacker. That being said, he’s a cerebral player: He’s a prober. We saw the other night he can really pass the ball. It’s just a different pick-androll style.

“Jeremy is your tailback you’re pitching it to, and he’s going all-out downhill.”

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