After going down to the wire with the Toronto Raptors the night before, the Atlanta Hawks had to get prepared to face the Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks have found themselves staying competitive against the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors just made more plays at the end of the game. They had a chance to redeem themselves against the Nets, who were seventh in the Eastern Conference coming into the game. The last time these teams played each other, the Nets took the win, 144-127, behind D’Angelo Russell’s 32 points. The Hawks have improved a lot since then, so this game could have had a different outcome than before.
No jet lag
Coming off a back-to-back, teams are usually tired from the night before and start off slow. This was a dangerous spot for the Hawks to be in because they have a history of starting slow. Now, add on that they just played the night before and it could’ve been ugly. The Hawks were able to defy the odds and have a decent start to the game and had a 19-point lead early in the second quarter. They were shooting a high percentage from the start and putting the Nets in difficult situations.
Collins still going strong
It’s really about time that we start giving John Collins some consideration for the All-Star game. He continued his double-double ways in this game and was a big part of the reason the Hawks started off good. Collins had 18 points and eight rebounds by halftime, it was evident he would continue this run of double doubles. He finished the game with 30 points and 14 rebounds, a team high in both categories. You can tell that Collins is fully healthy from his injury and has built chemistry with his teammates, most notably Trae Young. There connection on pick and rolls and lobs have improved every game, which will be scary for teams in the future.
Remember that hot start they got off to? Well in the second half things didn’t go well for them. On the first play of the third quarter, Young turned the ball over. The Nets were able to get an easy two from it. Coach Lloyd Pierce called a timeout immediately, which was the fastest timeout we’ve seen since Coach Mike Budenholzer was on the Hawks. Following that sequence, Joe Harris got hot from deep and the Nets were back in the game from there. The Hawks had some fight in them, but you could tell their energy levels were low into the fourth quarter, and the Nets pulled away.
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