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Nets recognize support from Brooklyn fans in stands

Players believe they have a true home-court advantage.

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell looks on in

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

After the Nets crushed the Kings by 29 Monday in front of 14,233 at Barclays Center, D’Angelo Russell remained on the court for a YES Network interview that would also be heard by the fans in the stands. The point guard took in the first question, but he immediately crossed over in another direction.

“First, I want to thank the crowd,” Russell said. “You guys were ecstatic the whole night. We heard you guys. We needed that. We’re going to keep needing that. So make sure you guys keep showing that support. Appreciate you guys. Thank you. I forgot the question.”

The question now is, can the Nets again draw on that energy and the comforts of home to extend their four-game winning streak Wednesday night in a rematch against the Magic? The Nets would prefer that what happened in Orlando Friday night not be necessary again. They had to climb out of a 21-point hole — their largest comeback win since December of 2011.

“I’m confident in how we play at home,” Russell said Tuesday at HSS Training Center.

They had a bad start on their home court and overall, but the Nets have taken off. And Russell has noticed a new attitude in the Barclays seats. Even though the team ranks last in average attendance at 14,303, the fans are helping provide a home-court advantage.

“I think our fans, they’ve been around the last two years and they’ve just been showing up to games just to watch the show, not really care who wins, just anticipating a good game,” Russell said. “I think recently the fans are showing up with the Brooklyn-type pride and wanting to see us do well. The atmosphere is just amazing.”

The Nets are on a 17-5 run, equaling the best 22-game stretch since they moved from New Jersey in 2012. They’re sixth in the Eastern Conference at 25-23. They’ve also taken six straight and 10 of their last 11 at home after a 3-10 start there.

“I think we’re feeding off that kind of home-court advantage,” Kenny Atkinson said. “I feel it from the fans that they’re recognizing what we’re doing and really helping us at Barclays.”

Jarrett Allen said the 20-27 Magic will view this as “a revenge game” after falling, 117-115, Friday night. Atkinson said Orlando hit “a ton of tough shots” before Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie helped power the comeback. Russell scored 40 points and Atkinson said he’s “playing at an All-Star level.”

“I’m living my dream through him,” Allen said. “To play at a high level like he is, that’s what everybody wants to do and he’s doing it.”

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