The Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets came together for one of the more entertaining games of the 2020-21 NBA season on Wednesday evening. After a quick break as the calendar flipped to 2021, the same two teams returned to the floor at Barclays Center, but the rematch went in Atlanta’s favor. The visitors improved significantly on the defensive end and a balanced offensive attack led the Hawks to a 114-96 victory.
The Hawks opened the night with a 10-4 run out of the gate. That spurt included two three-pointers from Trae Young, who had it going from the outset.
Young also generated four assists in the first quarter, keying Atlanta’s offense.
Atlanta held a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter, taking advantage of a slow start from Brooklyn’s offense. From there, Clint Capela continued to establish himself with high-end production, and the Hawks used some hot shooting to spur a 17-3 run to take a 16-point lead.
Brooklyn did respond with an 11-2 spurt of their own but, led by Young and Capela, the Hawks stabilized and led by nine points at the break. It was Capela’s best half in a Hawks uniform with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Young added 15 points and five assists. For the Nets, shooting betrayed them, as Brooklyn converted only 1-of-16 from beyond the arc to allow Atlanta to take control.
The early portion of the third quarter went Brooklyn’s way, with the Nets climbing back within a six-point spread after a 10-2 run. On cue, however, the Hawks scored seven straight points to stabilize matters. Atlanta then kept pushing, with the help of the second unit, and led by as many as 19 points late in the third quarter, all while holding up well defensively.
Offensively, the Hawks staggered a bit to open the fourth quarter, but a flourish was in the offing that would all but seal the game. Cam Reddish knocked down back-to-back jumpers and, when Kevin Huerter buried a three-pointer, the Hawks led by 20 and would never be tested again.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Hawks made a few big highlight plays, including a smattering of jumpers from De’Andre Hunter and a big dunk from John Collins.
John Collins with the monster mash pic.twitter.com/Dw185pVaj2— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) January 2, 2021
All five starters scored 12 points or more on Friday evening, with Hunter leading the way with 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Young produced 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds, with Collins adding 20 points and eight rebounds, and Capela putting up 12 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best six assists.
The Hawks will face their first back-to-back of the season on Saturday evening, with Atlanta hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on State Farm Arena. Stay tuned.