Game 49 Preview: New Jersey Nets at Atlanta Hawks

The losing streak continued as the Nets suffered an ugly loss against Washington on Wednesday. They're headed on the road to face the 6th seed Atlanta Hawks, who are coming off a one point win against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

How do these teams compare:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free Throw Rate

Turnover Rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective Field Goal %

Opponent eFG%

New Jersey
















League Average








It's really aggravating to watch this Nets team. By now, we know their deal: decent enough on offense, but so horrendous on defense that they have no shot at competing for a playoff spot. When you allow a bottom five offense in Washington to score 108 in regulation, any talk of playoffs is laughable.

As for the Hawks, they're pretty much in the same spot they've been at for the past couple of seasons. A solid playoff contender, but not near the top of the conference. They've been one of the best defenses in the NBA, but their offense has performed at the level of the Nets. That can be explained away because they've been hit with a lot of injuries this season, most notably losing the excellent Al Horford for the season due to a pectoral injury.

Last time I saw you

Tip-off is at 7:30. Matchups after the jump.

Point Guard: Deron Williams vs. Jeff Teague

Williams had a short night on Wednesday, as he got thrown out of the game for arguing with the referees. As it was, his play wasn't missed as he had an inefficient game (Unfortunately, I've been saying that too much) as he was only 6-15 from the floor and had 4 turnovers as well. As usual, I'm hoping he can put a good stretch of basketball together. Lord knows we need someone good to watch as we wind down the season.

The former Demon Deacon really became known nationally during last year's playoffs. He outclassed Jameer Nelson and gave MVP Derrick Rose a run for his money in Round 2. This season he's been able to maintain that level of play. He's been attacking the basket more this season (as evidenced by a doubling his attempts at the rim per game), and his shooting percentages have increased as a result. He was praised most for his defensive efforts, and he's been solid on D this season (opponent eFG% of .477 according to 82games). He's a good player now and there's still room for him to improve.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Marshon Brooks vs. Kirk Hinrich

Brooks has been in a slump recently, as his jumper hasn't been falling. At this point, he's not good enough to contribute in other areas, so if his offense is nonexistent, he's a non-factor on the court.

Every year, it seems like Kirk Hinrich is about to be traded. Now that Marvin Williams is out, Hinrich enters the lineup at the 2 guard spot. He's having the worst season of his career from downtown (.338% from three point range), and if the Hawks wanna do damage in the playoffs, he's gonna need to hit his shots.

Advantage: Even

Small Forward: Gerald Wallace vs. Joe Johnson

There are two perspectives you can take from looking at Wallace's game against Washington. There's the good, but unsustainable, as he shot 3-5 from downtown (though I still want him to stop shooting threes altogether). And there's the bad, but unsustainable, as he missed all 8 of his shots at the rim. Either way, you shouldn't read too much into his game vs. the Wizards.

Joe Johnson catches a ton of flak from the basketball community. The prevailing criticism is that he's not worth the contract the Hawks gave him in the summer of 2010. While that's certainly true, it's not as if he's DeShawn Stevenson. His shooting has bounced back to normal levels, as his threes have been going in this year, vs. last year when he shot only 29% from downtown. He's an acceptable rebounder, passer and defender so his contract isn't as big of an albatross as it's often made out to be. And in the immortal words of Clay Davis: "I'll take any motherf******'s money if he giving it away."

Advantage: Hawks

Power Forward: Kris Humphries vs. Josh Smith

Another day, another double-double for Humphries. This time, he's gonna have a much tougher challenge as the Hawks are a top ten team in defensive rebounding, while the Wizards were the second worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA.

I'm stunned that Smith is only 26 years old. It seems like he's been around forever. Moving on from that, Smith is another example of "offense isn't everything." His shooting is way down (a .488 TS% and 60% from the FT line are ugly ), but with Horford being out, Smith has had to be more involved on offense. But despite that, he's still had a good year as he's been great on the glass (total rebound rate of 15.6) and he's been a machine on the defensive end (#2 in defensive win shares and opponent PFs have an eFG% of .486).

Advantage: Hawks

Center: Shelden Williams vs. Zaza Pachulia

Shelden had a tough time with Nene, as the new Wizards big man had a 22 point, 10 rebound game. Luckily for him, Zaza isn't Nene.

Pachulia is a lot like Shelden Williams. He's a scrappy guy, a great rebounder, low-usage, and operates almost exclusively near the rim. He's done a good job filling in for Horford so far, and is a good bet to continue his level of production.

Advantage: Hawks


New Jersey: Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jerry Smith, Sundiata Gaines, Jordan Williams

Atlanta: Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Willie Green, Jason Collins, Ivan Johnson, Vladimir Radmanovic

Advantage: Atlanta


I still believe the Hawks should blow their roster up and start over. To me, they're stuck in basketball purgatory as they're good enough to be a playoff team, but nowhere near being a legitimate title contender.

12 years ago, if you told me that Stack and T-Mac were on the same team, I would've though that team would be a favorite to win the Finals.

During the trading season, I saw a lot of posts lobbying for a Brook Lopez-Josh Smith trade. My only question is why would the Hawks make that deal?

For the most part, I loathe excessive isolation plays so I'm hoping there's a small amount of ISO-Joe in this game.

Journey through the darkside: Peachtree Hoops

The mothership: Nets vs Hawks coverage

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