Mikal Bridges scored 42 points, including an acrobatic jumper later in the third quarter as the Brooklyn Nets strengthened their grip on sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 124-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday in New York.
Bridges produced his third 40-point game since being acquired in the trade-deadline deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. He finished three shy of his career high set Feb. 15 in Brooklyn against the Miami Heat.
Bridges made 16 of 24 shots overall, 5 of 8 while scoring 15 of Brooklyn's 42 points in the third that turned a 59-55 lead into an 101-79 advantage. Among those shots was a hoop that gave Brooklyn its first 20-point lead at 91-71 and a one-legged, off-balance 13-footer that gave the Nets a 96-79 lead with 1:25 left as Bridges beat the shot clock and avoided going out of bounds.
Bridges' latest big performance helped the Nets (42-35) move two games ahead of the seventh-place Heat, who were idle on Friday. Brooklyn won for the third time in four games following a five-game losing streak.
After sitting out the start of the fourth quarter, Bridges returned with the Nets holding a 107-91 lead at the 8:33 mark. He surpassed the 40-point mark by converting a three-point play to extend the lead to 121-99 with 4:08 left to essentially finish it off.
Brooklyn's Dorian Finney-Smith added 19 in his most productive game since being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in February as part of the Kyrie Irving deal. Cameron Johnson contributed 16 points, Nic Claxton totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds while Spencer Dinwiddie handed out 12 assists as the Nets shot 55.7 percent and amassed 33 assists.
Dejounte Murray scored 21 points to lead the Hawks (38-39), who are tied for eighth place in the East with the Toronto Raptors (38-39).
Saddiq Bey added 16 but star Trae Young was held to 11. Young missed his first seven shots, finished 3-for-12 and missed all five 3-point tries for the Hawks, who shot 42.9 percent and missed 29 of 37 long-range attempts.
--Field Level Media