Streaking Hawks survive Durants 55, hold off Nets 122-115

ATLANTA – Kevin Durant set a new goal record, although it was Danilo Gallinari and the Atlanta Hawks who celebrated with a post-game toast.

Trae Young had 36 points, including nine in the last minute, and the streaky Hawks overcame Durant’s career-high 55 points to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-115 for their fifth straight win Saturday night.

Atlanta (41-37) moved up to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of Brooklyn (40-38) and Charlotte.

“We’re playing some good basketball,” Young said.

Gallinari’s 15 points led Atlanta’s bench, who beat Brooklyn’s backups 46-12. That deserved a reward, and Gallinari said Hawks coach Nate McMillan delivered.

“The coach gave the glass of wine to the ‘bench mob,'” Gallinari said, adding that the backups have been using the moniker since last season.

Gallinari added, raising the glass he took to his post-game press conference: “Cheers!”

The Hawks, who are trying to regain the late-season momentum that propelled them to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, have won 10-of-13.


Durant set another career high by scoring eight 3-pointers, but his post-game focus was on his team.

“I’m not worried about that,” Durant said of the record. “I’m just mad at the loss.”

The second loss in a row left the Nets locked in the play-in tournament and dashed their tenuous hopes of finishing sixth in the conference.

Kyrie Irving had 31 points to complement Durant, but the Nets had no other double-digit scorer. Brooklyn was short on points support for its two leaders while missing two starters and another top backup.

Backup point guard Goran Dragic did not play after being drafted into the NBA’s health and safety protocols with COVID-19 symptoms. Coach Steve Nash said Dragic was “not comfortable”.

Just minutes before the game, Brooklyn’s backcourt depth suffered another blow when starter Seth Curry was ruled out with a sore left ankle. The Nets were also without starting forward Bruce Brown, who Nash says has the flu.


Durant’s 19 points in the third quarter included back-to-back 3s towards the end of the period, giving him the final 16 points of the nets.

Thanks to Durant, the Nets were down just 94-87 early in the final period after being 15 points down at halftime. Brooklyn cut Atlanta’s lead to 95-90 with a 3-pointer from Irving before Atlanta responded with a 12-3 run to extend their 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 points in the first period and 38 of 50 in the first half, including 25 from Durant.

Atlanta relied on more balanced goals and took the lead with a 14-0 run in the second period. Delon Wright sank two 3-pointers on the run. The Hawks ended the half with back-to-back 3s from Young and Gallinari to lead 65-50 at the break.


Nets: Durant’s all-time 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 a Brooklyn opponent. The previous high was 38. … Nash said he hopes Brown misses just one game. … G David Duke Jr. and C Day’Ron Sharpe were recalled from G League Long Island.


Hawks: Young had 10 assists. … De’Andre Hunter had 15 points. … G Lou Williams appeared in his 1,000. career game off the bench, extending his NBA record. Earlier this season, Williams surpassed Dell Curry’s mark of 984 games played as a backup.

TOO MANY fouls

Durant made his career mark with his layup with 19 seconds to go. He said poor defense – and too many fouls – spoiled the game for the Nets.

“It wasn’t because of the umpires, it was because we reached into it,” Durant said.

Lamenting the fouls, Nash said: “You can’t give them 49 free throws. … Tonight was a poor performance. Clear our minds, recover and move on.”


Durant and Irving combined for 81 points — and some NBA history.

According to Stats by STATS, the Nets became the first team in NBA history to lose a game while one player scored at least 55 points and another added at least 30 points.



Nets: Returning home to play Houston on Tuesday.

Hawks: Visit Toronto on Tuesday.


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Joel McCord

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