ATLANTA — Trae Young had simply nailed a 3-pointer adopted by a trademark slippery layup to chop the Atlanta Hawks’ deficit to 1 level with simply over three minutes to play.
But the following time down the ground, Young watched Kevin Durant crouch in a defensive stance in entrance of him. Durant’s glorious protection on Young over these final three minutes was key within the Brooklyn Nets’ 113-105 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Friday night time.
“Just taking on the matchup was cool,” mentioned Durant, who completed with 31 factors. “These small point guards man, they’re so crafty and quick. It’s also fun taking on that matchup, he’s one of the best players in the league.”
The Hawks tried to run actions to get Durant off of Young. But Durant nonetheless pressured the Hawks’ star right into a turnover, then blocked Young’s shot in transition and efficiently defended another drive as the Nets completed the sport on a 10-3 run.
At one level, Durant slammed into Young as he was setting a display and was known as for a foul. Young went chest-to-chest with Durant earlier than officers stepped in and known as double technical fouls.
“I was a little too physical there with that action and I kind of pushed him a bit,” mentioned Durant, who mentioned he is identified Young for the reason that level guard was 10 years outdated. “He wanted me to get up out of his space and I respect that. Just a part of the game. Nothing personal, it’s all competition.”
Said Young concerning the second: “We’re good.” Young had 31 factors of his personal within the recreation however was simply 2-of-7 capturing within the fourth quarter with two turnovers.
After not enjoying him within the first half, Nets coach Steve Nash went with Nic Claxton at heart as an alternative of LaMarcus Aldridge down the stretch. His size together with Durant and James Johnson stuffed the Hawks, who shot simply 6-of-22 and managed simply 14 factors within the fourth quarter.
Earlier this week, the Nets accomplished a comeback win in Dallas by holding the Mavericks to only 13 factors within the fourth quarter. Brooklyn has now gained seven of its final eight road video games.
“[Defense provides] ultimate confidence,” mentioned James Harden, who had 20 factors and 11 assists. “We’ve been having a lot of ups and downs, a lot of lineups and whatnot. We’ve just been trying to figure it out. It felt really good to just guard.”