The Brooklyn Nets have one man to thank for D’Angelo Russell: Magic Johnson. At least according to fans at the Barclays Center Wednesday night.
During the Nets’ 113-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans began chanting “Thank you, Magic” as Russell took to the free throw line with less than ten minutes left in the second quarter. At that point, the Nets led the Cavs 36-22. Russell finished with 25 points in 32 minutes.
Their chants, of course, referred to the Los Angeles Lakers’ president Magic Johnson, who traded Russell to the Nets, in June 2017. It was the Hall of Famer’s first move in charge of the franchise he led to five NBA titles in the ‘80s. The 2018-19 edition — led by LeBron James, who just passed Michael Jordan to become No. 4 on the all-time scoring list — is most likely going to miss the playoffs. The Lakers (30-35) are 6 ½ games behind the Clippers for the 8th spot in the West heading into Thursday’s action.
Meanwhile the Nets have a good shot at playing ball in the postseason for the first time since 2015. At 34-33 on the season, the Nets sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with the Detroit Pistons (32-31) and the Miami Heat (30-34) holding the sixth and eighth spots, respectively.