Tag: Deron Williams

Brook Lopez

Nets use 18-0 second-half run to secure Game 3 victory over Hawks


NEW YORK — The Hawks came into Game 3 having won the first two games of their first-round series against the Nets, just as a 60-win team facing one that finished the year six games below .500 should.

But this isn’t the same Atlanta squad that won 40 of its first 48 games of the season, and as evident as that was during those first two victories that were more closely-contested than expected, that fact became crystallized during Saturday’s demoralizing loss.

“I think they came out with a lot of energy and a lot of activity, and maybe forced some turnovers,” Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said afterward. “And I don’t think our rhythm, our pace and all the things we do … I don’t think we started well, and they had something to do with that.”

The Nets jumped on the Hawks early, getting out to a first quarter lead of as many as 15 points. Brooklyn had given back all of it after halftime, however, and trailed by four with under three minutes to play in the third.

But the Hawks’ lack of execution returned at the worst possible time.

An 18-0 run from late in the third until midway through the fourth proved to be the difference, and Brooklyn held on for a 91-83 victory to cut their deficit in the series to two games to one.

The slow start was less than ideal, especially against a Nets team that played well enough in Atlanta to nearly steal Game 2 on the road. But the problems with the Hawks run much deeper than that.

The crisp level of ball movement that Atlanta dazzled with during the first part of the season has disappeared far too often in the playoffs. And that is of much greater concern to the top-seeded Hawks than allowing the Nets a glimmer of hope by letting them back into this series.

Jeff Teague, who was 4-of-13 from the field to finish with 13 points, six assists and four turnovers, believes his team is a long way away from playing the elite style of basketball we saw during the regular season.

“Very far,” he said, when asked how far away the Hawks were from the best basketball they played earlier in the year. “We’re not playing well at all. We’re due for a game, so hopefully next game we’ll get back to our normal self.”

Kyle Korver was limited to just two points on 1-of-8 shooting, which included going 0-for-5 from three-point distance. After being such a key component in the first two games of this series, the Nets stifled him in Game 3 — despite Lionel Hollins at one point downplaying Korver’s significance.

“We were ready for him coming off screens,” Hollins said. “He had a couple open shots that he missed, and when you scramble on a team that hard consistently … when you get open, you’re rushing your shot a little bit.”

“I didn’t really get any good looks early, and probably was pressing a little late,” Korver said. “I was trying to make something happen, but there just wasn’t a whole lot there for me tonight.”

The victory for the Nets validated what they believed at times through the first two games of the series, which was that they can compete with this Hawks team, despite the disparity in their respective fortunes during the regular season.

“I think we knew we could beat this team,” Joe Johnson said afterward.

The win came on a night where they shot just 38.6 percent from the field, and Deron Williams didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter; it was unclear whether it was because he wasn’t right physically, or because he was so ineffective that he was hurting his team’s chances.

At the same time, it’s becoming painfully clear to this Hawks team that they’re no longer the juggernaut they once were. As Brooklyn is finding its way, Atlanta seems to be slipping further and further from the early-season identity it established as a dominant team that shared the ball, and consistently created open looks for shooters within the confines of its equal-opportunity offense.

“We haven’t been sharp offensively for a little while now,” Korver said. “Maybe this will kind of jar some things and we’ll figure some things out, and play with a little more purpose and a little better on Monday.”

Or maybe, the issues that exist aren’t ones which can be fixed that easily.

Nets with beautiful basketball sequence to end first quarter of Game 3 vs. Hawks (VIDEO)

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Three
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NEW YORK — The Nets played inspired basketball during the first quarter of their critical Game 3 matchup with the Hawks, and this sequence epitomized that somewhat perfectly.

Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack both made great efforts to save the ball inbounds, and once they got to the other end of the floor, Jack and Joe Johnson worked together on a beautiful give-and-go, before Jack found Brook Lopez for the two-handed slam.

Brooklyn led 31-16 after the game’s first 1 minutes.

[Video via The Brooklyn Game]

Hawks outlast Nets, take 2-0 series lead

Jarrett Jack, Dennis Schroder

It’s been far from the cake walk many (read: everyone) thought it would be, but the Hawks have survived. They outlasted a surprisingly competitive Nets team on Wednesday to take Game 2 96-91 and take a 2-0 series lead.

It ended in the most Nets way possible, with Deron Williams missing a wide-open 18-foot jumper that would have tied the game with 10 seconds left (Williams shot 1-for-7 on the night and generally looked disengaged). After a Kyle Korver rebound, the Hawks put the game away at the free-throw line.

The Hawks haven’t looked the part of the team that dominated the Eastern Conference in the regular season, in large part because of injuries. But they got solid games from their banged-up stars — Al Horford, who was questionable with a dislocated pinky finger, finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks. Paul Millsap rebounded nicely after a rough Game 1 where he was still bothered by a shoulder injury, shooting 4-of-4 from three-point range and 19 points and 7 rebounds.

The Nets stayed competitive thanks to a hot shooting night from Jarrett Jack, who scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half, finishing with 23 points on the night.

The Hawks’ spacing hasn’t been what it was in the regular season, and neither has their ball movement. There are reasons for concerns going forward — they lost the rebounding battle with the Nets, 49-41. But the fact that so much broke right for Brooklyn and they still fell short at the end gives the Hawks hope that they can put the series away despite their flaws and focus on either Toronto or Washington. Game 3 is Saturday at the Barclays Center.

Deron Williams misses open game-tying jumper late in Nets’ loss (video)

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two

Maybe Paul Pierce was right.

Deron Williams had a chance to hit the game-tying shot in the final seconds of tonight’s Hawks-Nets Game 2, but he missed the open jumper, and Atlanta escaped with a 96-91 victory.

I don’t want overreact to just one shot, but Williams looked like a shell of himself throughout the game while scoring just two points on 1-for-7 shooting. (To be fair, he also had 10 rebounds and eight assists. He also helped get himself open with a pump fake, but Joe Johnson’s pass did the heavy lifting on the play.)

Nets pull away in fourth to beat Magic, put pressure on Pacers for final playoff slot

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets

Wednesday night was supposed to be easy for Brooklyn: They were the desperate playing for their playoff lives, and Brooklyn was facing an Orlando team that was just waiting to make tee times. Besides, the Magic weren’t very good anyway (the Nets had 12 more wins coming in).

It wasn’t easy.

With just more than 9 minutes left in the game Orlando led 82-81.

But the Nets responded with a 17-4 run at that point and pulled away in the fourth quarter behind a career-high 28 points from rookie Bojan Bogdanovic.

The win puts the pressure on Indiana, which has to beat Memphis to secure the eighth and final playoff seed in the East. If not, Brooklyn will be back in the postseason thanks to this victory.

Former Net now Wizard Paul Pierce questioned the toughness of Brooklyn veterans such as Deron Williams (10 points, 7 assists) and Joe Johnson (16 points on 15 shots), it was the European rookie who was key. Bogdanovic hit 12-of-17 shots, was 4-of-8 from three and was a +19 on the night.

Those veterans made plays, too, and the Nets played some defense when it mattered. Once the Magic took that 82-81 lead in the fourth, they didn’t score another point for 4:43. Meanwhile Johnson hit a running jumper; Williams got to the bucket for a layup, then Johnson hit a couple jumpers, one a three, and the Nets has pulled away.

You can say the Nets should have more than 38 wins with their league-high payroll of more than $88 million ($7 million more than second-place Cleveland), but they will take the playoff ticket if they can get it.