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Mikal Bridges pours in 38 points as Nets rally to defeat Hawks 114-102; make up ground in Play-In race


The Nets have won two straight games following Saturday’s 114-102 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks, the second of two consecutive meetings against Quin Snyder’s squad at Barclays Center. The postseason implications of these victories could prove to be massive for the team over its final 22 regular season games.

Brooklyn improved to 24-36 this season and is now just two games behind Atlanta for 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, which means the team remains in prime position to steal the final spot in the Play-In Tournament down the stretch. And the Nets were able to get it done in both meetings without Ben Simmons and Cam Thomas, who both missed their third consecutive games on Saturday.

Saturday’s rematch against the Hawks was not as one-sided as Thursday’s win. Atlanta flipped the script, racing out to a 7-2 lead which forced interim head coach Kevin Ollie to take a quick timeout. The Nets were up 18 points after one quarter of play on Thursday. They trailed Atlanta, 28-21, through the first 12 minutes on Saturday, despite eight offensive rebounds, and were shooting 27.9% (7-of-27) with four turnovers.

While the team struggled on offense to start, it was not because of a lack of quality looks. Early on it felt like it was just one of those rough shooting games that have plagued the Nets all season long.

The Hawks shot 50% (11-of-22) in the opening quarter and seemingly could not miss at the rim with an early 14 points in the paint. However, Brooklyn finally caught fire in the second quarter, especially from behind the arc.

They went 8-of-8 from 3-point range in the period, the most treys made in a quarter without a miss in team history. Fifteen of Mikal Bridges’ game-high 38 points came in the second quarter as well, as the Nets outscored Atlanta, 39-34, to trim their deficit to two points at halftime. It was Bridges’ seventh half this season with at least 20 points.

The Nets regained the lead for the first time since the 11:03 mark of the first quarter with 9:09 left in the third, courtesy of a pair of Cam Johnson free throws. Continuing to create separation behind strong defense and stellar offense from Bridges, Johnson and Dennis Schröder, they ultimately outscored Atlanta, 30-18, in the period to extend their lead to 10 points entering the fourth quarter.

Brooklyn played the Hawks pretty even in the fourth quarter (24-22) to keep any comeback attempt at bay.

Beyond heating up from 3-point range, the Nets played with more force defensively on the interior in the second half. While the Hawks finished with 48 points in the paint, six of Brooklyn’s eight blocks came in that pivotal third quarter. Atlanta wound up shooting just 42.5% for the game after shooting 53.3% in the first half.

All five Nets starters finished in double figures and Johnson, who picked up where he left off on Thursday, contributed 23 points, five rebounds and four 3-pointers. Ten of Schröder’s 14 points came in the second half, although he had a rough night in terms of efficiency (4-of-13), and Nic Claxton registered his team-high 21st double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Brooklyn will have a chance to extend its winning streak to three games at home on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies.


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