Nets hope Crabbe stays hot vs. ‘Wolves

NEW YORK — When Caris LeVert went down with a dislocated foot 11 days ago, the Brooklyn Nets said it would take a team effort to replace what their leading scorer was providing.

One of those players the Nets are hoping to join the fray of production on offense is Allen Crabbe.

Crabbe is coming off his most productive game of the season and the Nets will be hoping from a similar showing Friday afternoon when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are among three teams without a road win.

The Nets (8-11) are 2-3 since LeVert was injured trying to contest a layup by Minnesota rookie Josh Okogie with 3.7 seconds left in the first half of a 120-113 loss on Nov. 12. Since losing LeVert, Crabbe has started each game alongside D’Angelo Russell.

In Wednesday’s 119-113 loss at Dallas, Crabbe scored a season-high 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers. Crabbe is averaging 8.2 points on 30.8 percent shooting but in his last five games, he is averaging 12.4 points on 42.9 percent shooting and 46.9 percent from 3-point range.

“You could feel it coming these past couple of games,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Even though he didn’t make every shot tonight, his game was fantastic. I still think he hesitated too much. We need him to shoot five more times a game. Hopefully, he’s woken up and in his groove.”

“It felt good, man,” Crabbe said. “It’s been a struggle, the first (19 games). I’ve been doing all the things I needed to do. I knew if I stayed with the process, things would start to click. My teammates were finding me in the flow of the offense.”

Now the Nets are hoping Crabbe develops a good flow while they hope to start a good rhythm at home. Brooklyn’s seven home games are tied with Utah for the fewest but they are starting a stretch where 13 of the next 17 at home.

Brooklyn will be hoping to produce a better showing at closing out a home game than in its last appearance at home. On Saturday, the Nets held a 15-point lead in the second quarter and a seven-point lead entering the fourth but were outscored 37-22 in the final 12 minutes and took a 127-119 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Minnesota meanwhile shares a dubious distinction along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns as the league’s only winless road teams. The Timberwolves are heading to Brooklyn for the front end of a back-to-back after winning three of five games at home following the acquisitions of Robert Covington and Dario Saric from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jimmy Butler.

The Wolves won the first three games by beating Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Portland but took a 13-point loss to Memphis on Sunday and were outscored 35-18 in the third quarter before mounting a run that ultimately fell short in a 103-101 loss to Denver on Wednesday night.

“We just didn’t get enough stops,” Covington told reporters. “They were too comfortable. They were in a rhythm, and we didn’t do enough to disrupt ’em. Thirty-five to 18? We shouldn’t have allowed that.”

“We didn’t execute,” Wolves center Karl Anthony-Towns said. “We didn’t come out ready in the third quarter, and they were ready. And that’s what led to our demise.”

Towns scored 22 points and is averaging 20.0 points, 11.9 rebounds on 48.3 percent shooting. He also is averaging 5.6 turnovers in the last five games, including 10 of Minnesota’s 23 in the win over Brooklyn 11 days ago.

Minnesota is 13-6 in the last 19 meetings but the home team has won the last six encounters.