ATLANTA – Trey Young scored 36 points, including nine in the final minute, and the striking Atlanta Hawks overcame Kevin Durant’s career-high 55 points to hold the Brooklyn Net 122-115 for their fifth straight win on Saturday night.
Atlanta (41-37) moved to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of Brooklyn (40-38) and Charlotte.
Young’s 3-pointer gave Atlanta a 116-108 lead. Durant reached the highest score of his career with his lay-up with 19 seconds left.
The Hawks, trying to regain last-season momentum that pushed them to last year’s Eastern Conference finals, have won 10 of 13.
Duronto has set another career high with eight 3-pointers.
The net’s second consecutive draw stuck to their play-in tournament, dropping their slim hopes of finishing sixth in the conference.
Kiri Irving had 31 points to complement Durant, but the Nets had no other scorers in the double figures. There was very little scoring support for the two leaders in Brooklyn when two starters and another top backup were missing.
Backup point guard Goran Drazik did not play after being placed on NBA health and safety protocols with COVID-19 symptoms. Coach Steve Nash says Drazick “doesn’t feel good”.
Just minutes before the game, the depth of Brooklyn’s backcourt hit another when starter Seth Curry dropped out due to pain in his left ankle. The net also started without Bruce Brown, who Nash said had the flu.
Durant’s 19 third-quarter points included 3s towards the end of the period, which gave him the last 16 points of the net.
Thanks to Durant, the net entered the final with just 94-87 behind after trailing 15 points at halftime. Brooklyn cut the Atlanta lead to 95-90 at Irving’s 3-pointer before Atlanta pushed their lead to 14 points with a 12-3 run.
Durant scored 13 of Brooklyn’s first 18 points and sank each of his first three 3-pointers. Durant and Irving nets 22 out of 30 first-period points and 38 out of 50 in the first half, including Durant’s 25.
With a 14-0 lead in the second half, Atlanta relied on a more balanced score. Dylan Wright sank two 3-pointers on the run. The Hawks closed the half with a back-to-back 3 seconds by Young and Danilo Galinari 65-50 ahead at the break.
Net: Durant’s previous highest was 17 points for Oklahoma City on January 17, 2014. His previous season high was 53 against the Knicks on 13 March. … The Hawks made 37 free throws out of 49, which Brooklyn’s opponents set a season high for. The previous highest was 38. … Nash says he hopes Brown will miss just one match. … G David Duke Jr. and C Dayron Sharp were recalled from G League Long Island.
Hawks: Young had 10 assists. … Galinari and D’Andre Hunter each had 15 points. … G. Lou Williams appeared off the bench in his 1,000th career game, expanding his NBA record. Earlier this season, Williams surpassed the Dale Curry mark of 984 games played as a backup.
Net: Will return home to play in Houston on Tuesday.
Hawks: Go to Toronto on Tuesday.