Another strong night from KD leads the Nets to a win in Atlanta.
After a rather embarrassing loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets, the Nets bounced back in a big way as they continued their four-game road trip. Although Brooklyn didn’t have the services of Kevin Durant on Wednesday, they most certainly did on Friday in ATL.
Durant would be the driving force behind the Nets offense all night and wasted no time asserting himself in the game. He started the game red hot, scoring 12 of his team-high 31 points in the first quarter. Not only did he have a monster slam in transition but also got it done on the defensive end too tallying two blocks.
By halftime, Durant had 17 points on a highly efficient 8-for-10 from the field and would finish the game 12-for-22 and would score six of Brooklyn’s final eight points. Just another day at the office for #7.
To be frank the game was up in the air all night. It was a back-and-forth affair with no one team ever getting a clear advantage. The two teams were tied at the end of the first quarter, separated by three at halftime and then separated by two at the end of the third before Brooklyn ultimately took control for a 113-105 win.
The tide of the game really turned in the third quarter. After Atlanta grabbed an 11-point lead off the strength of a 10-2 run, Brooklyn quickly answered with a 12-4 run of their own. Rookie Cam Thomas (11 points, six rebounds) provided a great spark off the bench knocking down a trio of long balls. Thomas has notably struggled from distance early into his rookie campaign so perhaps his 3-for-4 night against the Hawks will be a springboard for him.
Nic Claxton was another one of the galvanizing players for Brooklyn down the stretch. After sitting the entire first half, Claxton entered the game and immediately made an impact. In his first possession, he clamped up Trae Young.
Much like in Brooklyn’s recent game against the Mavericks, Claxton was tasked with guarding an MVP-caliber player off the switch and passed the test with flying colors. He made it difficult for Trae to get easy looks aside from two layups late in the fourth.
Brooklyn would start the final period on a 14-4 run with Claxton square in the middle of it. The former Georgia Bulldog had the Brooklyn bench going crazy with two massive dunks. The first of which was a one-handed putback slam off a Patty Mills missed three. The second, which had the whole arena buzzing was a one-handed flush over two Atlanta Hawks players.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 11, 2021
Powering the Nets across the finish line alongside Durant was James Harden. It was a much better performance for Harden than his previous outing against the Rockets. The Beard tallied 20 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 11 assists.
Although hesitant in the first half and a little turnover prone in the second, Harden would come through for Brooklyn down the stretch with a pair of tough finishes at the basket in the fourth. James was a big catalyst in Brooklyn’s 37-point third quarter tallying six assists and four points.
The win now gives the Nets 10 road wins on the season and also gives them one against a team that should be in the playoffs this season barring health. Brooklyn was able to flex their muscle on the interior to the tune of 66 points in the paint, 40 of which came in the first half.
This was key as Brooklyn struggled from three-point range all night, shooting a meager 6-for-23 (26%). This was also the second straight game in which the Nets held their opponent to under 15 points in the final quarter.
The Nets are now 8-0 following a loss and will look to round out their road trip with a win Sunday when they visit the hapless Detroit Pistons.