Brooklyn Nets to Play Atlanta Hawks ... Again

USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks will get their first ride on the Barclays Center turntable and bus elevator Friday, but other than than and the return of Josh Smith, the tussle between Brooklyn and Atlanta differs only in venue from Wednesday night. There are no injuries to report.

Smith of course is a big difference-maker both for what he does as an individual and as an added athlete in the Hawks' very athletic line-up. With many believing the Nets have trouble with athletic teams, that could be a problem. So could the Hawks confidence in beating the Nets without their best player who was suspended for conduct unbecoming two nights ago.

Smith no doubt will be asked why he was suspended --and what his plans are for next summer when the 27-year-old power forward will be a free agent. His relations with the Hawks management are obviously strained and his services will be greatly sought after.

Another big difference maker is the Nets legs won't be as rubbery. The Nets played the Raptors in Brooklyn on Tuesday and got into Atlanta early on game day. They're rested now. Of course, the game will be a second chance for Joe Johnson to show the Hawks what he's capable of (not 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting).

Trying to explain the Nets loss to the Hawks, following Atlanta's 39-point shellacking by the Bulls, Deron Williams said the Hawks performance reminded him of the Nets win over Oklahoma City. The Nets had just been destroyed by the Spurs and saw the next game as a way to remind the NBA that they can play the game at a high level.

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