Nets ride 9-game win streak into matchup with Hawks
The visiting Brooklyn Nets will put their league-leading, nine-game winning streak on the line on Wednesday when they oppose the Atlanta Hawks, who may be without All-Star point guard Trae Young.
Young left Atlanta's 129-114 road loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday with 4:15 to play due to a left calf contusion. The injury came on a non-contact play when Young drove to the basket. He was taken to the locker room for examination and did not return. He will be treated and re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Asked if he would be able to play against the Nets, Young said postgame, "Hopefully. I don't know. We'll see."
The loss of Young could be especially problematic for Atlanta, which is already missing two starters. Clint Capela, who missed three games due to a right calf strain, returned to action Friday, aggravated the ailment and sat out Tuesday. De'Andre Hunter (left ankle sprain) also missed the Los Angeles game.
This will be the second of four meetings in the season series between Brooklyn and Atlanta. The Nets, who earned a 120-116 home win over the Hawks on Dec. 9, took two of the three matchups last season. The team won't play again until a Feb. 26 game in Atlanta.
Five of Brooklyn's wins during the current streak have come on the road, where the Nets are 10-7. The Nets are coming off a 125-117 road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
Brooklyn's Kevin Durant has feasted against the Hawks during his career, including a game-high, 34-point performance earlier this month.
Durant has scored 25-plus points in 13 straight games against the Hawks dating back to Nov. 30, 2016. He posted a career-high 55 points on April 2, 2022, in his last visit to Atlanta.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving has averaged 28.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists over his past 10 games, scoring 20-plus points eight times and 30-plus points five times. Irving (26 points per game) and Durant (30 ppg) form one of three duos in the league averaging 25-plus points. They both scored 32 against Cleveland on Monday.
"To be honest, we've always been about basketball," Durant said. "The outside noise makes it seem like we don't care about the game, but so many voices speak about our locker room who don't have any idea what's going on. We've always been about the game."
The Nets lead the league in field-goal shooting (51 percent) and 3-point shooting (39.1 percent). Brooklyn center Nic Claxton leads the league in field-goal shooting (73.8 percent) and is the only qualifying player in the league shooting over 70 percent.
With Atlanta's roster thin because of injuries, the Hawks will rely more heavily on John Collins. The veteran forward, playing his fourth game since missing eight contests because of a left ankle sprain, scored a season-high 26 points and had 10 rebounds in the Hawks' loss to Indiana.
"We want John to shoot the ball," Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. "He didn't hesitate. He was looking for his shot. I thought he was aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. He had to play a lot more 'five' and we got him involved by setting screens and (finding) him in those pick-and-rolls."
--Field Level Media
Updated December 28, 2022