Hawks outlast Nets, take 2-0 series lead


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)


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.)

Hawks’ Al Horford says he will play in Game 2 despite finger injury


Atlanta’s Al Horford suffered a dislocated his little finger on his shooting hand during Game 1 of the Hawks playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets. Then he came out on Monday and said he wasn’t sure of his status for Game 2 Wednesday.

By Tuesday, he was sure of his status, speaking to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Is this really a surprise? It’s the playoffs.

That said, Horford will have his little and ring fingers taped together, something he admitted bothered his shot a little in Game 1. Horford had 10 points on 12 shots in Game 1. The injury didn’t bother him in close, he was 4-of-5 shooting inside eight feet of the rim, but he was 0-of-5 on deeper midrange shots and threes that he normally can knock down.

The Hawks didn’t look dominating like a traditional No. 1 seed in Game 1, they still seem to be trying to get their flow back. Horford is going to have work to do on the defensive end slowing down Brook Lopez, who was the Nets best player in Game 1.

Nets list Mirza Teletovic as ‘probable’ for Game 2 vs. Hawks


The Nets ruled Mirza Teletovic out for the season back on Jan. 23, after he was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolus (multiple blood clots in the lungs).

Perhaps they meant the regular season.

Teletovic was back on the court and went through a full practice with his team in advance of the Game 1 loss to the Hawks, but the Nets said at the time that he would continue to be listed as “out” for games, and that his status would be updated as appropriate.

The Nets announced that Teletovic is listed as “probable” now for Wednesday’s Game 2.

From Rod Boone of Newsday:

Hollins adds that doesn’t mean Mirza will get into the game. Just that he’s probable to be on the roster. Whatever that means.

Teletovic has proven to be a capable outside shooter at times, and against a Hawks team that toyed with them for the bulk of Game 1, the Nets will obviously take all the help they can get.

Teletovic appeared in 44 games for Brooklyn this season, and averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per contest.

PBT First-Round Playoff Previews: Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks

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Nets: 38-44 (8th place in Eastern Conference)
Hawks: 60-22 (1st place in Eastern Conference)
Atlanta won the regular season series 4-0.


Hawks: Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season with a leg fracture suffered during an incident with police.

Though he only averaged 18.8 minutes per contest and recently missed 23 games with a calf injury, his defensive presence was of immense help to the bench unit, and the team suffered there in his absence.

Nets: There’s an outside chance that Mirza Teletovic may be back, after being ruled out for the season back in January. The team announced he has been cleared to resume basketball-related activities, and he practiced on Friday. But he will be continued to be listed as OUT for now. Alan Anderson, who missed the last seven games with an ankle injury, also practiced.


Nets: 101.9 points scored per 100 possessions (18th in NBA); 105.0 points allowed per 100 possessions (24th in NBA).
Hawks: 106.2 points scored per 100 possessions (T-6th in NBA); 100.7 points allowed per 100 possessions (7th in NBA).


Can the Hawks regain their early-season dominance: Atlanta crushed all comers in the first half of the season, rattling off a 19-game winning streak at one point, and winning 40 of their first 48 games — outpacing even the Warriors in the process. But the second half of the season wasn’t as easy. Sefolosha missed a total of 30 games, and the Hawks went just 17-13 in those contests. Whether it was due to losing their key defensive reserve, coasting to the regular season finish line, or no longer being able to surprise the opposition, Atlanta needs to find a way to get back to playing the elite level of basketball the team showcased for much of the season, and if they can, the Nets won’t be the only team that will have a ton of trouble in stopping them.

Nets must keep games close: In three of the four losses to the Hawks this season, Brooklyn was blown out by 17, 11 and 32 points. They lost the final one by just three, but Paul Millsap didn’t play, and the Nets entered the fourth period trailing by 12 points. (And, that was the day after the aforementioned police incident, so Sefolosha and Pero Antic didn’t play, either.) Brooklyn’s best chance to hang is to make the open shots when they come (which hasn’t happened lately), and to stay at home defensively, because they’re not athletic enough from a team-wide standpoint to help and recover before the Hawks zip the ball around to find the open shooters. The Nets can’t let huge deficits become the norm in this series, because they simply don’t have the offensive firepower to get out in transition and answer with huge runs of their own. Stay close and, well, at least there’s a chance.

Don’t leave Kyle Korver: In the four games between the teams during the regular season Korver is shooting 61.9 percent from three-point distance. The Nets can’t leave him to double-team someone else, and they shouldn’t send help, either, because that’s when the Hawks’ offense is at its best.


We saw what the Nets look like when a team uses expert dribble penetration to set up its offense, and moves the ball well to create open shots. The Bulls shredded Brooklyn by doing exactly that just a few days ago, and the Hawks have shown that they can employ that strategy even better, and have done so consistently on a season-long basis. The Nets don’t have any advantages over this Hawks team, and Lionel Hollins knows it. I trust that he knows his team better than I do.

Hawks sweep it in 4 games.