Nets lose 129-127 to Hawks after Trae Young buries floater – The Mercury News


It was almost poetic.

Here was the Nets, trailing by as much as 18 points in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks in Atlanta, figuring out how to end games now that their superstars are gone — only for a superstar on the other side to put the nail in the coffin.

After Cam Johnson hit a three to tie the game at 127 apiece, Hawks star Trae Young drove down the lane, faked and threw a floater that left his hands just in time and went over the net at the buzzer to lift the Hawks to a 129-127 victory in Atlanta.

Young finished with a game-high 34 points, and his co-star Dejounte Murray hit four threes for 28 points.

Brooklyn’s effort was a welcome sight after Friday’s 44-point loss to the Chicago Bulls. The Nets answered one of the most important questions that could define their season: How are they going to generate offense with the game on the line now that the stars have aligned elsewhere?

“It’s great. We talk about that in the movie, the ability to really play for each other and create for each other and believe in how we’re going to play,” coach Jacque Vaughn said after the loss. “That ability to continue to do so over and over again, of believing in the game plan and sticking with it, I thought our guys really grew tonight from that.

Coach Jacque Vaughn closed out the game with its starters: Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton. The wheels began to fall off in the fourth quarter before the Nets got the car back on the road.

Dinwiddie turned the ball over on a drive to the rim on a miscommunication with Finney-Smith, who cut to the rim when Dinwiddie threw the ball into three-point range.

On the next possession, reserve forward Cam Thomas – who played 29 minutes and finished with 22 points – had a lob pass intercepted on a midfield set.

And on the ensuing possession, Bridges drove to the basket and missed an open layup.

It was the player who kept them afloat all night who hit the biggest shot on the team.

Johnson was one of the few players to pick up the pace early as the Nets dug themselves an 18-point hole. He finished with a team-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field.

“So it’s still explaining why to our guys right now. I think it’s going to work, I believe it’s going to work,” Vaughn said when asked about the fit for Bridges and Johnson from Phoenix. “But there’s a space where you talk about offensive terminology, there’s some defensive terminology and some things in terms of schema that we’re still figuring out.”

Dinwiddie finished with 20 points and eight assists.

The Nets return to the Barclays Center on Tuesday to host the Milwaukee Bucks, who have been playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, sidelined with injury. Antetokounmpo’s status for Tuesday is unclear, but the Bucks are still a tall order in games where their MVP is off the ground.

The Nets have the seventh toughest record in all of basketball and are clinging to the playoffs. The Hawks are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets could end up seeing Atlanta in the Play-In tournament.


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