Allen Crabbe was one of the few bright spots for the Nets in the disappointing 114-102 loss to the Hawks at Barclays Center on Saturday. Back in the starting lineup after missing three games with lower back tightness, Crabbe scored 12 points in 25 minutes on 4-for-8 shooting including 3-for-5 on threes. He also had three rebounds and two assists.
Crabbe said the back issue arose as he prepared for the Nov. 26 game at Memphis. He’d had the occasional bout of back tightness but said “never to that extent.” He was close to the end of his pre-game routine when, he said, “it just started tightening up literally by the minute . . . I went out to the court to see if I could shoot and I could barely move.”
The Nets’ training staff tried acupuncture to alleviate the tightness, but Crabbe said “it went south from there.” He was sent for an MRI exam, which was negative, and took daily treatment until he was able to practice Friday.
Crabbe played at least 30 minutes — more than he has typically played in his five seasons — in all of the seven games leading up to that date. Coach Kenny Atkinson wasn’t sure if there was a cause-and-effect between the workload and malady.
“I wish I had that answer. I pose those questions all the time with all our guys that have played more minutes than they are accustomed to playing,” he said. “I don’t have an answer to that, but I understand [the] curiosity. I am curious too how that effects players league-wide — guys who have played more minutes than they’ve ever played. It’s a good question.”
Booker, replaces Hollis Jefferson but goes cold
Though Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returned from an ankle sprain that kept him out of the previous two games, he did not get re-inserted into the starting lineup. Atkinson decided to play the hot hand instead. He went with Trevor Booker, who averaged 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in the previous three games.
The move did not pay off as Booker was 0-for-5 shooting and finished a scoreless effort with one rebound in 15 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson had nine points, four rebounds and and three assists in 21 minutes off the bench.