January 24, 2020

Kyrie Irving Returns to Brooklyn Nets Lineup and Nets Defeat Atlanta Hawks 108-86 | 411SportsTV News

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets point guard, scores over Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len, and leads the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets point guard, scores over Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len, and leads the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 victory on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit Unknown

Atlanta Hawks guard, Vince Carter, gets a rousing standing ovation from basketball fans at the Barclays Center during a game against the Nets on Sunday

Make that two-in-a-row.

To no one’s surprise, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays Center last evening. What might have surprised most is the score, 108-86. The 22-point victory marked Brooklyn’s largest win margin of the season; topping the 20-point win margin against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 15, 2019. With the win, the Nets improved to 18-20, while the Hawks fell to 8-32 on the season with last night’s loss. With the Nets' most recent losing skid, it could make one forget that this wasn’t the first time this season that Brooklyn held the lead wire-to-wire, with the largest margin being 39 points. The last time this season the Nets’ held the lead from start to finish was on November 22, 2019, against the Sacramento Kings.

How The Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks by the numbers:

Brooklyn led Atlanta 37-16 at the end of the first quarter, its 37 points marked the highest point total for the Nets in a first-quarter this season, while Atlanta’s 16 points marked the fewest points. At halftime, with the score 70-46, the Nets continued its lead, but the Hawks narrowed it to 24 points, and it was the Nets' largest halftime lead of the season. At the end of the third quarter, the Nets led the Hawks 92-66. Brooklyn also outrebounded Atlanta 62-33, with the Nets’ 62 rebounds marking a season-high. The Nets only eclipsed the Hawks by two assists, 25-23.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the metrics that got away from the Nets

“Free throws, obviously,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I’ll have to talk to our free-throw coach about that – we obviously have to do a better job making free throws. Turnovers bothered me. I will give Atlanta credit – I thought they put their
young guys out there and they were just trying to make every catch hard. We had a tough time getting open. They were denying us and causing a lot of problems – I give them a lot of credit. Listen, when guys deny you and are in your shorts, we have to do a better job of screening, (a) better job of getting open. We did that early and I thought we slipped later.”

One area that didn’t disappoint Coach Atkinson was Kyrie Irving’s return.

“Yeah, he was really efficient,” Coach Atkinson said about Kyrie Irving’s shooting after missing 26 games. “I liked that he didn’t force anything, and he just played like a pro. My fear was being out so long, he’d try to really force things. He was just in a perfect flow – had a nice demeanor and nice rhythm about him. Normally when you come back after a long time, your rhythm is off, you’re going too fast or too slow – you’re not in the right tempo. He was in the right tempo, right place and I thought defensively, (he) competed his tail off. The first group, I think 16 points in the first quarter, really made a mark defensively – I thought our defense was good again. Offense has a long way to go.”

Did Nets' players think that Kyrie Irving’s return gave the team an energetic emotional boost?

“It did,” said Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen. “Seeing anybody come back from that (shoulder injury), just being able play basketball again – you take the Nets out of it, just having a friend being able to come back and play, then that gives everybody an extra boost to play hard.”

“…Having Caris (LeVert) and Kyrie (Irving) back, that brings us to a whole other level,” Allen continued. “We have more ball handlers, we have more people that can score without having an action for them, so it just brings us all together.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ Leading Scorers

Last night, Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 21 points (10-of-11 FG) with four rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 20 minutes. Irving’s .909 field goal percentage marked a career-high and the highest field goal percentage for a Net in a game this season. Taurean Prince recorded 14 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-6 3FG) with five boards and two assists in 21 minutes; Caris LeVert totaled 13 points, two rebounds, and a season-high-tying three steals in 22 minutes off the bench; DeAndre Jordan also added 13 points (5-of-7 FG), eight rebounds, and a block in 24 minutes off the bench; Joe Harris tallied 11 points and seven rebounds with a steal in 21 minutes, and; Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in 24 minutes, notching his team-high 18th double-double of the season.

About Kyrie Irving’s performance

“I mean, he is who he is,” Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince, said about Kyrie Irving’s return after missing 26 games. “He’s missing all the games, but he’s not missing any days in the gym. He’s probably there before us, more than half the time, so that just shows you the preparation he puts in for himself. It also shows you that he cares about the organization and the team to be ready and able to put on a performance like this on his game back.”

The Atlanta Hawks’ Leading Scorers

Cam Reddish led the Atlanta Hawks with 20 points and five steals in 29 minutes; DeAndre' Bembry recorded 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in 22 minutes, and; Alex Len chipped in 10 points.

It is worth mentioning that even though Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter, who at age 43-years-old, plans to retire at the end of this season, only scored eight points, three steals, and two rebounds, he received several “call-outs” from the crowd to play and several standing ovations.

“It’s always great to receive a standing ovation coming into or checking out of the game,” said Carter. “It’s always extra special when it’s a team I’ve played for before. To come back here — and some of the other stops I’ve played for — and receive a standing ovation one last time is great.”

Vince Carter played for the Brooklyn Nets from 2004-2009.

Coach Speak: Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce

“Not a lot of fun in that one,” said Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce. Brooklyn was good. They fed off of Kyrie (Irving) being back and had some great momentum in that first quarter. We were stuck in (the) sand. We were stuck in cement, trying to move and just late to everything with everybody.”

What’s Next for the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Atlanta Hawks will return home to host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, they will host the Utah Jazz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, also on Tuesday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

TIP-INS:

Caris LeVert has now scored in double figures off the bench in four straight games, which matches the longest streak of appearances in double figures off the bench for a Net this season.

 
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