NEW YORK (AP) – Kevin Durant scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving had 33 points and 11 rebounds and the Brooklyn Nets finished a seven-game homestand at 6-1 by beating the Atlanta Hawks 120-116 on Friday.
TJ Warren added 14 points and Ben Simmons returned from a four-game absence with a left calf strain with six points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Nets won for the ninth time in 12 games overall.
They hadn’t played seven straight home games since moving to Brooklyn a decade ago and they took advantage, losing only to the NBA-leading Boston Celtics while surging into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Simmons said the successful homestand meant a lot to the Nets, who improved to 15-12 after a 1-5 start.
“We know we’ve got a long way to go,” Simmons said.
“A lot of guys have been in and out of the rotation obviously so it’s changing a lot, but we’re just staying focused and we’re building day by day.”
Brooklyn held on to pull this one out by twice getting offensive rebounds after Durant missed jumpers with a three-point lead, with Seth Curry making two free throws after the Hawks had to foul following the second one.
Trae Young had 33 points and nine assists for the Hawks, while Bogdan Bogdanovic rebounded from a miserable game at the Knicks two nights earlier with 31 points.
Clint Capela had 15 points and 11 rebounds, but the Hawks dropped their third straight while playing without injured starters John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Dejounte Murray. Durant scored 18 points in the first quarter, but the Nets had to rally after the Hawks came back to take the lead in the fourth.
Durant’s three-pointer with 3:17 to play gave Brooklyn back the lead for good and he finished the scoring with two free throws with 6.3 seconds remaining.
Durant was nine for 11 in the first quarter as the Nets led 36-30. Bogdanovic had 13 points in the second as the Nets took a 68-64 edge to the break.