The Brooklyn Nets (18-8) beat the Atlanta Hawks (13-13) 113-105. Brooklyn was led by Kevin Durant, with 31 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks, on 12-22 overall shooting. Atlanta was carried by Trae Young, with 31 points, and 10 assists.
PG: Trae Young SG: Kevin Huerter SF: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot PF: John Collins C: Clint Capela
- Bogdan Bogdanovic (Out – Right Ankle Sprain)
- Solomon Hill (Out – Right Hamstring Tear)
- De’Andre Hunter (Out – Right Wrist Tendon Surgery)
- Cam Reddish (Available – Left Wrist Sprain)
PG: Patty Mills SG: James Harden SF: DeAndre’ Bembry PF: Kevin Durant C: LaMarcus Aldridge
- Joe Harris (Out – Left Ankle Injury)
- Kyrie Irving (Out – Not With Team)
Trae Young’s elite passing ability, and court vision got the Atlanta Hawks going early on. Young started the game with three quick assists. This was a result of finding cutters, and open guys on the perimeter. A few minutes into the quarter, the Hawks quickly found themselves up 10-2 over Brooklyn. As for the Nets, they got off to a sloppy start with three turnovers. Brooklyn’s focus was getting Kevin Durant the ball in the mid-range. Furthermore, James Harden (4 points on 2-2 shooting) torched Atlanta’s defense on dribble drives.
Perfect delivery 💥 pic.twitter.com/Y3jch1JYGE— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 11, 2021
As the quarter progressed, Brooklyn’s perimeter defense, as well as their pick-and-roll defense intensified. On the other hand, Atlanta took much more contested shots. At the 6:56 mark, the Hawks shot 41.7% (5-12) from the field, and 40.0% (2-5) from three. The Nets got many opportunities in transition because of their high-level defense. Due to this, Brooklyn was on a 10-0 run over the course of about three minutes. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 8 points on 4-5 shooting.
To counter, Trae Young got himself going with 6 points after missing his first few shot attempts. For context. Young used his quickness, and craftiness as a ball handler to blow by Brooklyn’s backcourt. However, the Nets were still having great success in the mid-range. As a team, the Nets shot 73.3% (11-15) from the field at 2:13 mark.
The Nets and Hawks were tied at 26 a piece to conclude the first quarter. Atlanta had success with their 2-3 zone defense late in the period. To boot, Brooklyn continued to struggle with turnovers, and had a total of five in the quarter. Nonetheless, Durant carried offensively with 12 points on 6-8 shooting.
Both teams struggled to hit their shots to begin the second quarter. Defensively, the Hawks defended James Harden’s rim pressure, and pick-and-rolls very well. This defensive success was credited towards Clint Capela’s elite rim protection, and Atlanta’s help defense at the rim.
Offensively, the Hawks were aggressive, as they attacked the restricted area. They were able to draw fouls and funnel Brooklyn’s defense. Atlanta scored 18 of their 33 points in the paint. Atlanta’s second unit struggled offensively, and only produced 7 points as a whole. Both teams shot under 40% almost midway through the second quarter.
For Brooklyn, Bruce Brown’s energetic impact was crucial on both ends. At the 4:52 mark, Brown was up to 8 points, 3 rebounds, and made 4-4 of his shot attempts. As a collective, the Nets had much success down low because of dribble drives, and screens. To back this, Brooklyn scored 34 of their 40 points in the paint.
Later, both teams were trading buckets in transition. Trae Young continued his offensive dominance with his scoring ability and passing. In total, Young had 14 points, and 6 assists with a few minutes to spare in the second quarter. As for Brooklyn, they were able to knock down consecutive threes on the fast-break. Overall, they still shot an underwhelming 28.6% (2-7) from beyond the arc. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 15 points on 7-9 shooting.
YOU KNOW HIM pic.twitter.com/NgGZMhqifi— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 11, 2021
The Hawks led the Nets 55-52 at the end of the 2nd quarter. Trae Young found an open Kevin Huerter, which resulted in an effortless Huerter three. Both teams played similarly to end the first half. They performed with much more urgency on the defensive end of the fast-break.
The Nets opened up the third quarter with great pace, and ball movement. James Harden and Kevin Durant did a great job of passing out of double teams. This got LaMarcus Aldrige going with 4 second-half points from the mid-range. However, Trae Young picked apart Brooklyn’s struggling defense. Young’s flashy ability to score in the paint, passing, and pick-and-roll game were critical for the Hawks. At the 7:07 mark, Trae had 22 points, and 9 assists.
JC for 3️⃣ pic.twitter.com/DprOfxcpIt— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 11, 2021
Brooklyn lacked urgency on the defensive end, and that’s an understatement. The Hawks had a total of 11 offensive rebounds, and Clint Capela played a huge role in this. Further, Capela’s presence down low on both ends was very important. He served as a critical rebounder, as well as a lob threat. The Hawks played against Brooklyn’s pick-and-rolls and isolation plays very well. Their rim protection, and help defense were huge. Atlanta out-scored Brooklyn 18-10 mid-way through the third period.
Nonetheless, Brooklyn went on a much-needed 12-5 run to cut Atlanta’s lead down to four points. LaMarcus Aldridge played a key role in this on both ends. Specifically, his rim protection, and scoring were key. In total, Aldridge had 15 points, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and shot 7-10 from the field. Overall, Brooklyn’s energy, and passing were much improved.
LA block 🚫— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 11, 2021
KD slam 🔨 pic.twitter.com/Jhtrukb5pe
Rebounding continued to be an issue for the Brooklyn Nets on the defensive end. Overall, the Hawks owned the rebounding battle 33-26, and had 12 offensive boards. This was due to Brooklyn’s lack of size, as well as their poor positioning around the glass. To make matters worse, the Hawks were able to take advantage of Brooklyn’s lack of size. Specifically, Danilo Gallinari got the best of Cam Thomas a few times in the paint. At this point, Gallinari was up to 10 points on 4-8 shooting.
As a team, Atlanta constantly attacked the paint, and drew fouls. They had a total of 24 trips at the line with one minute remaining in the period. Offensively, Cam Thomas’ high-level perimeter shooting kept the Nets alive. Thomas had 11 points, and connected on all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. The Hawks led Brooklyn 91-89 at the end of the third period.
Nic Claxton made a significant impact on the offensive end for the Brooklyn Nets. He threw down two menacing dunks, which gave him 4 points on 2-2 shooting. Besides this, Brooklyn couldn’t hit their shots early in this quarter. James Harden did a great job facilitating the ball, but the other guys couldn’t hit their shots. This could also be credited to the Hawks’ pressuring defense. As for Atlanta, their second unit has tremendously struggled offensively. Their poor shot selection, lack of passing, and stagnant off-ball movement caused Brooklyn to regain the lead 95-93.
The Nets continued to attack the paint, especially Kevin Durant, despite Atlanta’s double teams. Durant led Brooklyn in scoring with 25 points on 11-20 shooting from the field. Also, Atlanta had no answer for Harden’s overwhelming rim pressure. The “Beard” upped his statsheet to 18 points, and 11 assists. As a regime, the Nets scored 64 points in the restricted area, which surpassed their season-high.
In addition, Brooklyn played much better defense overall. They even forced a few Atlanta turnovers, as the Hawks have 12 turnovers in total. The Nets out-scored the Hawks 14-4 with 5:24 remaining in the fourth period. This run was because of Brooklyn’s elite performance on both ends of the floor.
Atlanta responded with a 7-0 run led by the offensive starpower of Trae Young. The star point guard gave the Hawks some life, by scoring five consecutive points. Young had 30 points, and 10 assists with two minutes remaining. However, Brooklyn responded with buckets from James Harden, and Kevin Durant to put the Nets up 107-102. Things then got intense, as Kevin Durant, and Trae Young had to be split up after exchanging words. Then, Brooklyn got a few key stops against Young’s quick dribble penetration. The Nets also crashed the boards well on both ends, and managed to chew a lot of clock. Through a series of free throws, and Kevin Durant’s starpower, the Brooklyn Nets defeated Atlanta 113-105.