Tag: BKN

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two

Nets coach Lionel Hollins on whether it took too long for his team to figure things out: ‘Did we make the playoffs?’


NEW YORK — The Nets saw their season come to an end on Friday, in a game where the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks finally looked like the 60-win team we saw earlier in the regular season.

Atlanta broke the game open with a 23-3 run to start the second half, and eliminated Brooklyn from the postseason in blowout fashion.

The Nets finished the regular season six games under .500, and the team’s total of 38 wins continued a decline that’s occurred in consecutive campaigns. But Nets head coach Lionel Hollins was proud of the way his guys were able to come together late, and seemed to use the playoffs as a measuring stick of whether or not he was able to achieve some measure of success.

“I’m proud of our team,” Hollins said. “Where we started back in September, the uncertainty, new coach, trying to blend it all together, the injuries and ups and downs, I’m thankful for the players and what they gave, and proud of how they stuck with it. And we were able to secure a playoff spot.

“Some people would say hey, maybe we didn’t deserve it. But that’s their problem. I think that we battled and fought and overcame, and even in this series we battled and fought. It would have been nice to get another victory and have a chance to go to a seventh game, but it wasn’t to be.”

The Nets did find a way to beat the Hawks twice, and were competitive at times for essentially five-and-a-half of the six games of the series. Hollins hammered this point home when he was asked if his team took longer than expected to figure things out.

“Did we make the playoffs,” Hollins interrupted, somewhat defiantly. “OK, there’s your answer. If we didn’t make the playoffs, then you could ask that question. But right now, my feeling is that we overcame, we got to the playoffs — however long it takes, is however long it takes. I’m not in control of however long (it takes for ) everybody to come together. But we did come together, and we had a beautiful run down the stretch. And we made the playoffs.”

Hollins choice of finding some positivity in his team’s late-season run just to make the postseason — even with a record of just 38-44, and even in the watered-down Eastern Conference — seemed to have trickled down to his players.

“I’m happy we were able to fight and get into postseason play with all the injuries and the changes that were made throughout the course of the season.,” Jarrett Jack said. “I think all of us had bigger expectations for ourselves, but all in all I thought we pushed this team to the limit. We came into a situation where we fought tooth and nail to get into the playoffs, and I thought when we got in, we didn’t disappoint.”

“We wanted to make the playoffs,” Deron Williams said. “We did, and we thought we put up a great effort against this team that’s the best in the East.”

The Nets did give their fans some excitement near the end of a mostly dreary season, and there is certainly something to be said for that. Hollins did a good job of shuffling lineups and getting the most out of what he had against the Hawks, and found a rallying point around Williams, who endured an avalanche of criticism publicly before his breakout 35-point Game 4 performance.

But that doesn’t erase the fact that Brooklyn largely underachieved for the vast majority of the regular season.

“It seemed to take a bit longer than all of us would have liked,” Jack said. “But that’s basketball for you.”

Hawks win Game 5, take 3-2 series lead over Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks- Game Five

After losing two straight games in Brooklyn and looking very vulnerable against the Nets, the top-seeded Hawks largely returned to form in Game 5, and took a 3-2 lead in the series by securing a 107-97 home victory.

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

Atlanta opened the game like the desperate team that it was. The energy was there from the very start, and the Hawks got out to a first quarter lead of as many as 17 points.

Brooklyn began to chip away in the second, behind a huge 14-point quarter from Alan Anderson. Deron Williams, who destroyed the Hawks with 35 points in Game 4, returned to his ineffective ways in this one, finishing with just five points — which made Anderson’s outburst that much more critical, especially when the rest of the Nets combined to shoot just 10-of-31 from the field over the first two periods.

While Anderson kept the Nets in it, DeMarre Carroll was the one doing the damage for the Hawks. Carroll finished with 19 first-half points against Anderson’s 16, and Atlanta led comfortably by nine at the intermission.

Kyle Korver got going in the third, and hit three three-pointers as the Hawks got back up by 14 points. The Nets went small to start the fourth, however, and quickly put together an 11-0 run to get within three points with just over nine minutes to play. The game was a battle the rest of the way, with Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson taking over the scoring for the Nets, and Jeff Teague and Al Horford making big plays for the Hawks, especially down the stretch.

The Nets were once again within two points with 2:20 to play, after Johnson hit back-to-back threes. But the Hawks closed the game on a 10-2 run, when the shots stopped falling for the Nets and they made some costly turnovers after essentially running out of gas.

The Hawks looked like the Hawks at times in this one, just as they had during the second and third quarters of their Game 4 loss. But this is the fourth consecutive game in the series where Brooklyn has been able to go on huge runs to make things competitive, and put itself in position to have a chance to win it in the final few minutes.

That’ll be something for the Hawks to think about as the scene shifts back to Brooklyn for Game 6 on Friday.

PBT Extra: Nets focus on Korver, using Brook Lopez made this a series with Hawks

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

If the Atlanta Hawks that were undefeated in January were playing in late April, this would be a very different post. But those Hawks seem to have gone the way of the Dodo.

The Brooklyn Nets won two games at home and made it a series with the Hawks by taking a couple steps, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra. First, coach Lionel Hollins has drawn up a game plan that focuses defensively on slowing Kyle Korver — something Hollins said he didn’t have to do, but actions speak louder than words.

Second, the Nets have worked to exploit Brook Lopez’s size advantage inside against the banged-up front line of the Hawks.

We know what the Nets will do in Game 5, but can the Hawks counter? Or just find some of that January magic again?

Anonymous GM: If Brook Lopez wants to stay with Nets, ‘he should be able to get whatever he wants’

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets

Deron Williams was unquestionably the star of the Nets’ Game 4 win over the Hawks on Monday, but Brook Lopez was just as important to his team’s winning effort.

Lopez finished with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while grabbing 10 rebounds and protecting the rim with four blocked shots.

The performance was far from an aberration; Lopez has been on a tear to end the regular season, and his dominant inside presence has continued to be a factor against the East’s top-seeded team in the playoffs.

Lopez will have a choice to make this summer. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Nets have to hope it’s one that allows him to remain in Brooklyn — and not only for next season.

From Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

One opposing general manager, who said the prevailing thinking around the league is Lopez stays put and gets a max deal, may have summed it up best.

“If he walks, where are they going? They don’t have draft picks. They’re flip-flopping their pick [with Atlanta]. They’re getting the 29th instead of the 15th. For their future, I don’t see how they can lose him,” the GM said. “If Brook wants to stay there, he should be able to get whatever he wants.” …

Lopez has options. He can opt out and stay with the Nets on a five-year deal — other teams can offer four — and that would ease any self-worry about foot issues resurfacing. Or with all the TV money set to flood the market after next season, Lopez could sign a two-year deal with a player option for the second year. It makes no sense not to opt out.

Lopez has a player option for $16.7 million for next season, but can certainly make more in guaranteed money by signing a longer-term deal, either in Brooklyn or somewhere else.

The point, here, is that Lopez seemingly has all the leverage. The Nets need to keep their All-Star caliber talent in place if they hope to compete, because there is no help coming in the form of young talent through the draft for the next several seasons. Brooklyn might like to convince Lopez to take the two-year route, just to maintain some semblance of future cap flexibility. But what’s more important is securing his services for what appears likely to be the prime of his career.

Jarrett Jack fires back at Paul Pierce after Deron Williams’ breakout Game 4 performance

Deron Williams, Paul Pierce

Before the playoffs began, Paul Pierce had some less-than-flattering things to say about the Nets, a team he played for the previous season.

Pierce specifically targeted Deron Williams, and questioned whether or not he could truly perform on one of the game’s biggest stages.

“Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,” Pierce said. “But I felt once we got there, that’s not what he wanted to be. He just didn’t want that.

“I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.”

It didn’t affect him in Game 4, where Williams turned in a transcendent 35-point performance to lead his team to a Game 4 victory over the top-seeded Hawks, silencing all critics in the process.

Jarrett Jack was among those that were there to pick up Williams when he was down the last few days, and after Williams responded brilliantly on the court, Jack addressed Pierce’s comments.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I’m not worried about people that’s saying stuff that’s not inside this locker room. So, if you’re on another team and you comment on another player, I don’t understand why you’re doing that anyway,” Jack told the News. “Especially that’s something that’s in the past, it’s over and done with. If you had something you want to say, you should have done it when you were in the locker room with him. And doing it publicly, I just thought that was, I don’t know. I don’t want to say it’s in poor taste because I think Paul is a professional, he’s just answering a question, but I probably wouldn’t have done it in that fashion.”

Should the Nets continue to come together they way they have over the past two games, and find a way to become just the sixth eighth-seeded team to knock off a one-seed in postseason history, they’ll get a chance to face Pierce and the Wizards in the second round.