Brooklyn, NY–Kyrie Irving was penned in the lineup and gave the Brooklyn fans something to cheer about for the night.
Irving hadn’t played in two months and all he did in his return was make 10 of 11 shots in the best shooting night of his career.
“I mean, I’m not going to shoot 10 for 11,” he said with a laugh. “I hope I can shoot 10 for 11 every night.”
The point guard scored 21 points with four rebounds, and three assists in 20 minutes in his return from a shoulder injury, leading the Nets to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays.
The Nets have won the last eight meetings. That’s only halfway to the longest winning streak in the series, as the Hawks won 16 straight from 1986-89. Brooklyn’s previous biggest lead in a game this season was 26 points against Philadelphia on Dec. 15.
Without Young in the lineup, the Hawks offensive output was non-existent in the first quarter.
Atlanta scored only 16 points in the opening minutes with the majority coming through Goodwin.
Brooklyn was crisp from the start of the game, jumping out to a 10-2 lead after a pair of Irving drives and making seven of their first nine shots. A 17-3 run by the Nets ballooned the lead to 20 points before the end of the first quarter, and they led 37-16 going into the second quarter.
The Nets closed out the first half with a 7-2 run to go up 70-46 at halftime.
Kevin Huerter got the offense flowing in the second quarter for the Hawks.
Huerter got a few minutes running the offense and was able to get Cam Reddish some touches. Between Huerter and Reddish the Hawks were able to narrow the deficit down to 18 points.
Cam Reddish’s play garnered him 16 points in the first half.
Unfortunately, that did not last long as the Hawks defense continued to play bad on defense, Brooklyn went back up by 24 points at the break. Brooklyn scored 70 points in the first half thanks in large part to Irving dribble-drive in the paint.
Just like the sluggish first quarter, the Hawks struggled to generate offense coming out of the break. After two Reddish free throws to open the third, Brooklyn went on a 15-0 run before the Hawks were able to blink.
The Brooklyn offense just kept pushing as the Nets shot 53.2 percent for the game, including 38.5 percent from 3-point range. The Nets also outrebounded Atlanta 62-33 while limiting the Hawks to 33.0 percent shooting, including 25.0 percent from down town.
Taurean Prince scored 14 points and five rebounds for Brooklyn, and Caris LeVert and Deandre Jordan scored 13 each. Jordan also had eight boards. Jarrett Allen had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Spencer Dinwiddie had seven points and eight assists.
After the Hawks scored the first two points of the second half, Brooklyn scored 15 straight to push its lead to 85-48 five minutes into the half, with Irving scoring eight points in the run. The Nets eventually led by 39 points in the quarter, their largest lead in any game this season, and took a 92-64 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.
“We had a certain confidence about us tonight that I think we were missing during that streak,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “So great, great timing having him back.”
Reddish scored 20 points for Atlanta, who played without guard Trae Young because of a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight contest.
Brooklyn was up by so much they didn’t have to worry about the scoreboard when Vince Carter entered the game. The crowd erupted when Carter hit two treys in the fourth quarter. The 42-year-old former Nets star finished the game with eight points in his final road appearance against the franchise.
“Obviously to come back here, and some of the other stops I’ve played for, and just kind of to receive a standing O for one last time is just great,” Carter said.