For reasons only the basketball Gods can grasp, matchups between the Nets and Hawks have been wildly entertaining this season.
While neither team shot the ball particularly well at times in their latest meeting on Wednesday, the game was still a back-and-forth affair that went down to the wire. Entering the night, Brooklyn’s last six games in Atlanta have been decided by six points or fewer.
After two free throws by Saddiq Bey put the Hawks up 110-109 with 35.4 second left in regulation, Spencer Dinwiddie — operating in the post after receiving an in-bounds pass from Dorian Finney-Smith — found a cutting Mikal Bridges to give the Nets a one-point advantage.
Trae Young missed a mid-range look on the Hawks’ next possession, which forced them to play the foul game. However, Dinwiddie missed the second of two free throws, which set up the game’s epic finish.
Young drilled a 26-footer to put Atlanta up 113-112, then Bridges responded with a jumper of his own to give Brooklyn a one-point edge with five seconds left.
Young’s prayer at the buzzer fell short. And when the dust finally settled, it was Brooklyn which rallied from a seven-point deficit about midway through the third quarter to escape State Farm Arena with a 114-113 win. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn and his team have now won five of their last six games.
While the Nets were able to avenge a 147-145 overtime loss to the Hawks in Atlanta on Nov. 22, Wednesday’s win was probably a little more meaningful for Bridges and Cam Johnson in particular. Both entered the night winless at State Farm Arena as pros and it was clear that they wanted to erase that narrative.
Bridges finished with a game-high 32 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Johnson added 17 points (3 of 6 from 3-point range), six boards and three dimes. Bridges did most of his damage in the third quarter to will the Nets back into the game.
Young had a team-high 30 points for Atlanta.