RECAP: Brooklyn Nets 102, Atlanta Hawks 113
The Atlanta Hawks are the hottest team in the NBA right now and the Brooklyn Nets were the latest victim to be sacrificed into the magma-filed crater of Eastern Conference dominance. The Hawks 113-102 win over the Nets represented their 17th straight win and their 38th win of the season, matching their total from last season. While the score remained reasonably close throughout, the Hawks always seemed in control.
Coach Lionel Hollins attempted to shake up the Nets a bit by starting a lineup that had only played 17 minutes together on the season: Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, and Mason Plumlee. As the 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets are want to do they started well, forcing 7 turnovers and playing aggressively in the first quarter.
Even with that start, you could see it slipping away as the first quarter ended. Atlanta’s shots started falling and Brooklyn’s defense got a little more slack, which surely had nothing to do with the entrance of Bojan Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez. As the ancient proverb says “Given room, the Hawks will fly free and decimate you by spraying fire from their talons.” - Anonymous.
For much of the game the Brooklyn Nets fought, clawed, and scratched to hang onto the rim of the Hawks volcano, but simply managed to keep their toes just above the lava level. The score was close for a while, but ultimately all must perish in the intense heat of the Hawks.
This one was not simply about desire or strategy, Atlanta is a better team in every aspect and they are as hot as heat gets. Without perfect execution, the undermanned and less-talented Nets didn’t have a shot, and their execution has been far from perfect this season.
Joe Johnson: As usual, Johnson got his points (26 of them). He didn’t do too much else though with only 2 rebounds and 1 steal. If he’s going to drift on defense, not rebound, and not pass, this team is not going far (spoiler alert: they’re not). C+
Mason Plumlee: This should have been a game where everything was coming up Plumlee. The Hawks are generally undersized in their front line and Plumlee could have used that athleticism to make them work. Instead, Mason looked like he was thinking of wicked dunks to use in the All-Star Weekend contest. He ended up with 14 points, 7 boards, 3 blocks, and assist, and a steal, but none of those runs that make him seem unstoppable…you know the ones. C-
Jarrett Jack: With 13 assists, Jack distributed well and with only 1 turnover, protected the ball well too. Unfortunately, he also shot 13 times, making only 5 of those. The less he’s shooting and the more he’s passing the better it is for everyone. B-
Alan Anderson: Anderson played his typical unremarkable 36 minutes. He helped fight for loose balls and played decent perimiter defense (which is better than anyone else mangaged) and even managed to add 15 points and 6 assists. Sometimes a steady hand is all they need. Tonight they could have used a little more though. C+
Kevin Garnett: Started out doing some KG things like rebound, play defense, and make jumpers. Finished the first half doing KG things like yelling and fouling. Ended the game doing old man KG things like sitting on the bench. D
Brook Lopez: The defense took an immediate hit when Lopez came in, but he was still relatively active…you know, for Brook. He just couldn’t chase the smaller, more athletic Horford around and quickly tired. Toward the end of the game he just couldn’t get the defensive stops and rebounds that the Nets desperately needed. C-
Sergey Karasev: I’m not sure what Karasev said about Coach Hollins’ mother, but it must have been nasty because he has fallen out of the rotation fast. Only 10 minutes tonight where he went 0-2. D-
Bojan Bogdanovic: Bojan’s movement has been much better of late opting for dribble-drives and cuts rather than just shuffling his feet on the wing. Tonight those movements seemed to spark a little bit of life in him as he made a few great decisions with the ball and even hit 2 of 4 from downtown (although he only had one assist because his teammates missed). With Deron Williams out, I would love to see Bojan get a few more playmaking opportunities. Maybe he’ll even start hitting shots again…it’s worth a try. B-
Cory Jefferson: Jefferson put in some good minutes in the first half, grabbing a few rebounds and staying active. Coach Hollins apparently disagreed because he barely shifted in his seat on the bench during the second half. C
Darius Morris: Poor Darius Morris may as well have been a roadside tourist trap the way Jeff Teague was passing right by without even looking at him. To top it off he went 0-6 from the floor. F
Next game: vs. Toronto Raptors on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 PM.