Game 3 Recap: Nets 91, Hawks 83
It wasn’t pretty, but the Nets came away with a home win over the Hawks 91-83 to turn this into a 2-1 series. The game was about as sloppy as you’ll find a postseason matchup, with 30 combined turnovers, neither team eclipsing 39% shooting from the field and just one quarter in which a team scored 25 points or more.
That would be the Nets in the first, when they zoomed out of the gates to take a 31-16 lead following the game’s first 12 minutes. Much like the regular season but unlike this series through two games, Brooklyn regressed from its smoking hot start to get a beating of its own in the second quarter. This time Atlanta held the Nets to 16 points, but still trailed by seven at halftime. After another low scoring quarter for both teams, the Nets opened up a massive 18-0 run branching the third and fourth quarters to take control coming into the home stretch. A couple of timely baskets kept Atlanta at bay and the Nets would hang on to win Game 3 of the series.
As far as actual analysis goes, it’s tough to make that work for this game. Really good shooters missed a lot of open shots. Really good catch-and-finishers bobbled the ball often. Some specifics: Game 3 was Kyle Korver’s 17th game making one or fewer field goals on eight or more attempts. He’s played in 954 games over his career. DeMarre Carroll led the Hawks in scoring with 22 points. Joe Johnson went 2-7 from deep, with most of those misses looking like he forgot his own form. To put it simply, this was an afternoon Saturday game that went as most afternoon Saturday games go. But, there are some things we did learn:
- Lionel Hollins has shortened his rotation further, with seven players getting over 20 minutes of floor time, three of which getting over 40 and spot minutes for Mason Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic. Johnson (16 points, 10 rebounds, 5-17 FG), Thaddeus Young (18 points, 11 rebounds, 8-16 FG) and Brook Lopez (22 points, 13 rebounds, 7-18 FG) were the three guys playing nearly the entire game, while Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alan Anderson rounded out the core group for Brooklyn. I’d express concern for grinding these guys into a quivering, exhausted heap of old, but this is going to be a short series anyway, so why not? One would think this strategy paid off in that Brooklyn’s starters manhandled the Hawks’ bench unit, except Atlanta’s starting five was a -4 and a few of their bench lineups played well. Other notables as far as the rotation goes: Markel Brown and Earl Clark are still relegated to the bench. Since the Nets just won, this likely won’t change.
- Al Horford is still struggling to get back on track.
Al Horford’s shot chart through three games. pic.twitter.com/Aa2SPslB0a
— David Vertsberger (@_Verts) April 26, 2015
See, that right there is ridiculous. The man shot 48.4% from mid-range in the regular season and 61.7% overall in the month of April.
- Bogdanovic can still be scary good offensively, but it just seems to only happen at home. He scored 19 points in Game 3, hitting three threes and shooting 7-13 from the field with a monster dunk in the middle of it. He has to continue being dangerous for the Nets to top Atlanta again.
- Teletovic was given another go, but still struggled to shake off the rust that accumulates when you don’t play in an NBA basketball game for three months. I want to remain hopeful that he suddenly clicks and completely changes the landscape of this series, but it’s a longshot to say the least.
- Anderson continues to be the Nets’ most consistent force on both ends of the court. His eight points doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but he makes the Hawks pay for closing out on him too hard and has done well chasing Korver around on the defensive end.
- Barclays Center stills fills up late in the Playoffs.