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ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 02: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at State Farm Arena on April 2, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

HAWKS 122 – NETS 115

The Brooklyn Nets continue to sink in the standings, with the only saving grace that with four games left in the regular season, they have done enough to at the very least earn a play-in berth. However, as the 10th seed, if the Nets finish that far down the standings, will give Brooklyn almost no room for error.

In case you are new to the play-in tournament which was inspired because of the COVID-delayed finish to the 2019-20 season, the tenth seed must win its match-up with the ninth seed (in this case Charlotte), or the season is over. The winner of the 9/10 match-up faces the loser of the 7/8 match-up. Whoever wins that game gets the eighth seed. The winner of the 7/8 game clinches the seventh seed.

Convoluted? Yes, but welcome to the post-pandemic NBA.

On Saturday, the Nets lost to the Atlanta Hawks (currently the eighth seed) by a count of 122-115, which dropped Brooklyn into this dire state of affairs.

Even though Kevin Durant nabbed a new scoring record with 55 points, it was not nearly enough. Not when Trae Young  scored 36 points to lead the Hawks, and Danillo Gallinari, who posted 15 points including a huge three pointer that gave Atlanta the lead in the second quarter, and they would never look back.

In fact Gallinari’s efforts helped contribute to Atlanta’s bench outscoring the Nets 46-12. It also didn’t help Brooklyn that they were in constant foul trouble all night, with Atlanta hitting on 37-of-49 free throws.