NBA regular season

Hawks top Nets despite Kevin Durant’s 55 points

Hawks top Nets despite Kevin Durant’s 55 points

SUPERSTARS. Hawks guard Trae Young and Nets forward Kevin Durant acknowledge each other after the game.

Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Trae Young unloads a double-double as the Hawks outlast the Nets even with Kevin Durant erupting for 55 and Kyrie Irving dropping 31

Trae Young scored 36 points – 9 in the final minute – to help the Atlanta Hawks offset a career-high 55-point night from Kevin Durant and hang on to beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets, 122-115, on Saturday, April 2 (Sunday, April 3, Manila time).

After Brooklyn cut Atlanta’s lead to 111-108 on a Durant dunk with 1:25 remaining, Young scored on a floater and three-pointer to push the lead back to 8 points with 23.5 seconds left. 

The Hawks were 6-for-6 at the line in the final minute, four by Young, to put the game away.

Atlanta (41-37) won its fifth straight game and moved into No. 8 in the Eastern Conference, dropping Brooklyn (40-38) into the 10th spot. Atlanta finished the season 1-2 against Brooklyn and broke a three-game losing streak against the Nets.

Young was 10-for-24 from the floor, four of them threes, and 12-for-14 from the line, along with 10 assists and 6 rebounds for his 39th double-double. De’Andre Hunter and Danilo Gallinari each scored 15.

Durant was 19-for-28 from the floor and 8-for-10 on three-pointers with 7 rebounds and bested his career high of 54 points against Golden State when he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2014.

Kyrie Irving scored 31 points, including 7 threes, and 6 assists. The Nets have lost three of four.

Brooklyn had a 10-point lead early in the first quarter and led 30-28 thanks to 15 points from Durant. But Atlanta’s aggressive approach led to a season-high 30 free throws in the half, 22 of them successful. The Hawks led 65-50 when Gallinari drained a long three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the half.

The Hawks led by as many as 15 points at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter on Young’s three-pointer but could not slow Durant. He scored 19 points in the period and the Nets were able to cut Atlanta’s lead to 94-87 entering the fourth quarter.

Brooklyn cut the lead to 97-93 when Cam Thomas made three free throws at 9:59, only to have Atlanta’s second unit score 10 straight and restore a 14-point lead at 7:15.

Both teams return to action on Tuesday, with Brooklyn hosting Houston and Atlanta traveling to Toronto. –