NBA: Kevin Durant's 31 points power Brooklyn Nets past Atlanta Hawks 113-105

Associated PressUpdated: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 01:20 PM IST
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Kevin Durant | Photo: AFP

Kevin Durant and James Harden carried the heavy scoring load for the Brooklyn Nets, as usual.

Coach Steve Nash also credited his "bullpen" for closing out New Jersey's win over Atlanta.

Durant scored 31 points, including a go-ahead jumper midway through the fourth quarter, and the Nets proved to be resilient once again, beating the Hawks 113-105 on Friday night.

New Jersey trailed 91-89 before outscoring Atlanta 24-14 in the final period.

Rookie Cam Thomas sank three 3-pointers while scoring 11 points off Brooklyn's bench. Another backup, Nic Claxton, added four points and four rebounds while providing valuable defense as most of his minutes came in the final quarter.

"They're both so versatile," Nash said of Thomas and Claxton. "It really gives us a great bullpen, so to speak. ... I think it just elevates our level of play at that end of the floor so much." With the 6-foot-11 Claxton sharing the defensive load on Atlanta point guard Trae Young, the Hawks made only 6 of 22 shots in the final period.

"It was just a good lineup to finish the game," Durant said. "I'm glad the defense won it for us." Young led Atlanta with 31 points but made 2 of 7 shots from the field in the fourth.

"We both played good defense," Young said. "They played better defense in the fourth. I've got to do a better job of making shots in the fourth." Harden had 20 points and 11 assists for Brooklyn, which is 2-0 against Atlanta this season.

The Nets, protecting their slim lead over Chicago for the best record in the Eastern Conference, improved to 8-0 following losses this season. Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 15 points, were rested in Wednesday night's 114-104 loss at Houston.

John Collins had 20 points and Kevin Huerter added 19 for the Hawks.

There were three ties early in the final period, including at 95-all. Durant's jumper sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Nets a 103-95 lead. Harden had four points in the run.

Atlanta answered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and another basket by Young, to pull to within 103-102. The Hawks couldn't complete the comeback.

The Hawks led 73-62 early in the third period.

Thomas, coming off a season-high 18 points against Houston, had three 3s in the period, including one that tied it at 86-all.

Thomas added another 3 to give Brooklyn its first lead of the half, 89-88. Danilo Gallinari answered with a 3 to give Atlanta the lead entering the final period.

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