ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young scored 36 points, including nine in the final minute, and the streaking Atlanta Hawks overcame Kevin Durant’s career-high 55 points to hold off the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 on Saturday night for their fifth consecutive win.
Atlanta (41-37) moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of Brooklyn (40-38) and Charlotte.
Young’s 3-pointer gave Atlanta a 116-108 lead. Durant reached his career scoring high with his layup with 19 seconds remaining.
The Hawks, attempting to regain the late-season momentum which pushed them to the last year’s Eastern Conference finals, have won 10 of 13.
Durant set another career high by making eight 3-pointers.
The Nets’ second consecutive loss left them locked into the play-in tournament, eliminating their slim hopes of moving up to sixth in the conference.
Kyrie Irving had 31 points to complement Durant, but the Nets had no other scorer in double figures. Brooklyn had too little scoring support for its two leaders while missing two starters and another top backup.
Backup point guard Goran Dragic did not play after he was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols with COVID-19 symptoms. Coach Steve Nash said Dragic “doesn’t feel well.”
Only minutes before the game, Brooklyn’s backcourt depth took another hit when starter Seth Curry was ruled out with a sore left ankle. The Nets also were without starting forward Bruce Brown, who Nash said has the flu.
Durant’s 19 third-quarter points included back-to-back 3s late in the period, giving him the Nets’ last 16 points.
Thanks to Durant, the Nets were down only 94-87 entering the final period after trailing by 15 points at halftime. Brooklyn trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 95-90 on a 3-pointer by Irving before Atlanta answered with a 12-3 run to push its lead to 14 points.
Durant scored 13 of Brooklyn’s first 18 points while sinking each of his first three 3-pointers. Durant and Irving scored 22 of the Nets’ 30 first-period points and 38 of 50 in the first half, including 25 by Durant.
Atlanta relied on more balanced scored while taking the lead with a 14-0 run in the second period. Delon Wright sank two 3-pointers in the run. The Hawks closed the half with back-to-back 3s by Young and Danilo Gallinari to lead 65-50 at the break.
Nets: Durant’s previous high was 54 points for Oklahoma City on Jan. 17, 2014. His previous season high was 53 against the Knicks on March 13. … The Hawks made 37 of 49 free throws, setting a season high for attempts by Brooklyn’s opponents. The previous high was 38. … Nash said he hopes Brown misses only one game. … G David Duke Jr. and C Day’Ron Sharpe were recalled from G League Long Island.
Hawks: Young had 10 assists. … Gallinari and De’Andre Hunter each had 15 points. … G Lou Williams appeared in his 1,000th career game off the bench, extending his NBA record. Earlier this season, Williams passed Dell Curry’s mark of 984 games played as a backup.
Nets: Return home to play Houston on Tuesday.
Hawks: Visit Toronto on Tuesday.
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