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Nets win fifth straight game, set Barclays record and dominate Hawks, 144-127

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Nets will embrace the tank... if you’re the opposing team.

For the first time since 2014-2015, the Nets have won five straight games — this time against the 6-23 Atlanta Hawks, 144-127, in a lopsided victory Sunday afternoon. The 144 points mark the most points the Nets have ever scored at Barclays Center and second most in regulation in franchise history .

“I think we’re really sharing the ball,” Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “Thirty-four assists two games in a row. That’s high level, making the extra pass, good to great, playing with the pass, all the stuff we have been preaching since the beginning and then, obviously, that thing is going in. I would add to that, our drive game. We are an aggressive driving team and that opened stuff up for our shooting.”

It’s early, but the Nets have kept their heads above water since losing eight straight games and Caris LeVert’s injury. They stand just two games out of the eighth seed.

D’Angelo Russell went off and finished with 32 points and seven assists on 13-of-19 shooting. It’s the fourth time this season in which he’s scored 30 or more point.

“He was just spry. Spry. He was aggressive, he was energetic,” said Atkinson. “Offensively he was aggressive. But I thought defensively he was locked in. When D’Angelo is like that we take it to another level. He was excellent tonight.”

He led the attack all night, which started in the first.

Russell scored 10 of his 32 in the first quarter as the Nets went absolutely berserk. The Hawks led 2-0 and that was it for the night. The Nets went onto score 42 points and took a 19-point lead.

Atlanta made a push in the second quarter and brought it down to six at half, but the Nets scored 39 in the third quarter and led by 15 entering the fourth. Russell controlled the tempo and everybody filled their roles, which led to a comfortable victory and an offensive outburst.

The blowout marked the first time in franchise history in which they scored 100+ points through three quarters in consecutive games.

The Hawks were on their last leg when Russell dished to Jared Dudley for three, giving the Nets a 20-point lead with less than nine minutes left. It was their night in a nutshell as a season-high eight players scored in double figures.

They shot 56 percent from the field and 16-of-40 (40 percent) from three with 34 assists on the night. They even shot 30-of-33 (90 percent) from the free throw line.

Other than Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 18 points, Joe Harris scored 16 (3-of-6 3-point), Jarrett Allen 11 in 15 minutes and Rodions Kurucs 11 and six rebounds in 28 minutes.

Off the bench, Jared Dudley dropped home a season-high 16 points on 3-of-7 shooting from deep. Spencer Dinwiddie and DeMarre Carroll both finished with 15. Finally, Ed Davis was two points shy of a double double, but was impressive on the boards yet again with 10 — the 12th time this season in which he’s grabbed double digits boards.

What’s changed since the eight-game losing streak?

“I think just our commitment for wanting to see each other do better,” Russell said after the game. “Like I said, everybody is aggressive at the appropriate time but still wanting to make that extra pass for the next guy, still having your teammates’ back on the defensive end, that rotation. We’re making those plays.”

Listen to more post-game audio here.

CARIS RETURNS ... TO THE BENCH

TRACKING THE 8TH SEED

The Brooklyn Nets entered Sunday 2.5 games back of the eighth seed and post game, were two games back. They’re starting to somewhat pull away from that bottom spot the Hawks currently own, but it’s still close for comfort.

Here are some games to watch for: Wizards-Lakers (Sunday), Heat-Pelicans (Sunday). Keep an eye out for the Nuggets, too. Nets have their pick.

JOHN STERLING IN THE BOOTH

Yankees radio play-by-play, John Sterling, called Wednesday’s matinee affair for Nets-Hawks — two teams he called play-by-play for back in the day. He called Nets’ games from 1975-1980. Before the game, Kenny Atkinson was especially appreciative of Sterling.

The Nets and Yankees also did a minor crossover, as the Yankees gave Brooklyn some pinstripe jerseys (and no, the last name was not on the back.)

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN IN THE BUILDING

One of soccer’s elite players was in attendance for Nets-Hawks Sunday. Antione Griezmann — World Cup champ and top-3 player in the Ballon D’Or award — took in some game action and watched one of his favorite players, D’Angelo Russell.

Here were the custom shoes he made with “DLO” written on it:

And a message for Nets fans...

Remember, back in the summer when the French national team won the World Cup, Griezmann and his teammates gave a shoutout to DLo’s “ice in my veins.”

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

FORMER NETS NOT A FACTOR IN GAME

Two former Nets played a total of 32 minutes Sunday but neither played much of a role in the game. Jeremy Lin played 13 minutes, scored six points on 2-of-5 shooting. Vince Carter played 19 minutes, but didn’t do much better: seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. VC did have a VC Three and two-hand dunk.

For a different perspective head on over to Peachtree Hoops, our Hawks sister site on SB Nation.

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LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are in town on Tuesday, 7:30pm.