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.