Trae Young And The Hawks ‘Shimmy’ Past The Nets

An ESPN Instant Classic was made tonight as the Atlanta Hawks took down Brooklyn Nets 122-115. Heading into this game the stakes were set high. For starters, the Hawks were coming in hot as they rode a four-game win streak heading in. To add fuel to the fire, the Hawks and Nets had both shared a 40-37 record prior to the game. They also knew winning tonight’s matchup would push them forward ever-so-slightly into the eighth seed. 

The season isn’t over yet, but with the Hawks sitting at the eighth spot in the conference, a lot of weight has been taken off their shoulders. 

Seeding in the NBA is of the utmost importance as the season winds down into the start of the NBA’s play-in tournament game starting on Apr. 12. 

Tonight’s matchup had all the makings of a future playoff game, so it’s obvious why mid-level tickets on Ticketmaster started at a whopping $1100. 

Prior to tipoff, it was announced before tonight’s matchup that the Nets would be missing a couple of key guys, including Seth Curry and Bruce Brown. 

The Hawks remained without John Collins, who hasn’t played since Feb. 11 and will also be without Jalen Johnson for the third straight game due to concussion protocol. 

The game began as expected, an offensive duel between two top-ranked offenses. Trae Young struggled to get his offense going early, only scoring four points in the first. Durant was able to get off to a hot start as he played the entire first quarter, scoring 15 points himself. 

Brooklyn continued a trend they started in the first quarter, as they put the Hawks in the bonus again in the second. By the end of the first half, the Hawks had attempted 30 free throws, making 22 of those. 

Young’s game picked up as he scored nine in the second, bringing his total to 13 points and seven assists. Durant finished the first half with 25 points, but his partner-in-crime, Kyrie Irving, struggled to get it going as he went 5-16 in the first half, finishing with 13 on the half.  

Despite the Hawks having a 65-50 lead going into the second half, when the other team has Irving and Durant, the game isn’t over “till the fat lady sings.”

The playoff energy was electric in the third. The buzz in the arena was surging. Durant was putting on an absolute clinic against the hometown Hawks as he went for 19 in the quarter. Contrary to KD’s performance throughout the third, Young also shimmied his way to 12 points in the quarter bringing his total to 25 on the night. Entering the fourth, the energy in State Farm Arena was off the rails. 

In the fourth, Durant beat his own career-high record scoring 55 points while also bringing in seven rebounds on the night. 

Despite scoring 36 points himself, Young still gave credit to Durant and Irving for their individual performances tonight.  

“KD [Kevin Durant] is gonna do what KD do,” said Young. “Kyrie is the same way. He didn’t have a good shooting night, but still put up 30 points and [what?],  like 86 points between the two? We knew we needed to cool them down and make other guys get it going.” 

With a final score of 122-115, the Hawks take over the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. If the season were to end today, the Hawks would face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the seven vs eight matchup in the play-in game. Atlanta fans can catch their Hawks again in State Farm Arena on Apr. 6.