The Hawks Hold on to Game 1
*Photo via AJC
Game 1: Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets
The top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks took on the eighth seed, Brooklyn Nets, and the Hawks took care of business. The Hawks won 99-92 and made big shots when needed.
The Hawks’ team cohesion gave the Nets issues all game, they always seemed to make the right pass and the right cut at the perfect times. The spacing of the Hawks also caused issues defensively for the Nets, luckily for them, the Hawks were a little off from three today. They frustrated the Net’s offensive at times, playing active , double teaming, and forcing the Nets to adjust. The Nets at times found the open man, but it didn't always lead to a basket, because of a rough shooting night from three. (25 percent from three)
The Nets did show some life today, Brook Lopez had his way in the paint grabbing 14 rebounds, and putting up 17 points, shooting six of seven from the field. Lionel Hollins needs to find ways to get him more shots. Deron Williams had his moments, but still has trouble doing it for a whole game. The Nets had their chances to take this game, but failed to capitalize.
The Nets even had a chance after a terrible first quarter, where the Hawks executed early and often. They were constantly finding the open man and taking advantage of the Nets’ sloppiness. Shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three and dished out eight assist. The Nets on the other hand, had six turnovers and shot 38 percent from the field. The first quarter gave the Hawks an early 12 point cushion.
The second quarter didn’t get off to a great start for the Nets, but luckily for them the Hawks cooled down. This allowed the game to stay within striking distance for the Nets. The Nets did clean up their play a little as the half ended, but not enough. The Hawks carried their 10 point lead into halftime. One stat that stuck out was the Nets’ 11 turnovers, and the Hawks only having five, one of the reasons the Hawks had a 10 point lead.
The Nets started the third quarter with more energy and went on a 7-0 run early on. The Hawks responded with a 15-2 run of their own and saw their lead get as high as 16 points. The Nets weren't hitting their shots in the third, but still hung around.
The fourth quarter is where things got interesting, the Nets were able to chip at the lead all fourth quarter. It also helped that Al Forford had to deal with a finger injury that caused him to miss a few minutes, but he returned. The Hawks also had some sloppy play down the stretch, allowing the Nets to get the lead down to four at one point. Yet the Hawks responded with big shots by Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague, ultimately the Hawks grabbed the win.
Player of the Game: Kyle Korver hit a three every time the Nets got close. He finished the game with 21 points, shooting five of 11 from three, he also grabbed seven rebounds.
Dud of the Game: Bojan Bogdanovic finished the game with five points and only hit one of his five threes. He also failed to closeout on Kyle Korver on a few occasions, which was costly.
Stat of the Game: The Hawks had 15 fast break points and the Nets only managed four.
Breakdown:The Nets made this game a lot more competitive than many believed. There were stretches where the Nets had chances to take the lead, but failed to do so. They were inconsistent, a problem all season for them.
The Hawks didn’t play their best game, but still managed to hold on and win. They likely will clean up some of their turnover and shot better from three.There only worry is if the Nets decide to give Lopez some more touches and hit their three point shots.
Going forward this series has potential to be more competitive than many thought. The Nets will need to bring it to another level if they want land a win or the Hawks will continue spread the floor and make the right pass. We also will keep an eye on the Al Horford injury going forward.
Game two will be Wednesday at 7:00pm on NBATV
*Stats via NBA.com