Hawks snap Nets home winning streak; Brooklyn falls 93-88

Mike Stobe

The Nets were without Deron Williams, Andray Blatche, Alan Anderson, and Shaun Livingston in this matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. They battled, but lost 93-88.

Well, you can't win them all... right? The past week, the Nets won a thriller against Miami, which was then followed by a disappointing loss to the struggling Orlando Magic. The Nets fought, but it looked as if there wasn't much interest in the first half.

Friday night, the Nets were back at the Barclays Center against the Atlanta Hawks. With a Nets loss to Atlanta and Knicks loss to Toronto, the Knicks would officially be eliminated from the playoffs. Also, the Nets 15 game-home win streak was on the line in this one.

Although the Knicks won in Toronto, postponing elimination for the team in Manhattan no matter the outcome of this game, the Hawks beat the Nets 93-88. The Nets scored just 15 fourth quarter points, and failed to score in the last two minutes of the game. This loss also ends their 15 game home win streak.

Shaun Livingston (toe), Deron Williams (patella tendinitis), and Alan Anderson (sore abs), all didn't suit up due to the minor injuries and rest. Andray Blatche was announced active, but didn't receive any playing time. In place of Williams, Jorge Gutierrez started the for the first time in his young NBA career.

The Nets got off to a good start, considering they didn't have much riding on this game. They struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first few minutes due to poor floor spacing, but behind Mason Plumlee's quick seven points off the bench, they improved their play and held a 23-16 lead after the first quarter. They finished the first quarter on a 8-2 run, with seven players scoring at least two points -- proving to be a balanced offensive attack for Brooklyn.

The Hawks woke up in the second quarter. They were getting what ever shots they wanted and ended up outscoring Brooklyn, 39-24 in the quarter. Despite shooting 1-7 from three, the Hawks were shooting an astounding 56% from inside the perimeter. It was the resurgence of Jeff Teague that spurted the hot second quarter for Atlanta. Teague finished the half with 14 points, all coming in the second quarter.

The Nets on the other hand shot just 41% from the field, with the 2-10 from three adding insult to injury. Mason Plumlee continued to look good off the bench. He scored 10 points in 15 minutes of action. Jorge Gutierrez, who started in place for Deron Williams, scored eight points before getting into early foul trouble.

Score at the half: Hawks 55, Nets 47.

One of the few things the Nets were able to celebrate in this first half was an incredible milestone reached from Paul Pierce. At the three minute mark of the second quarter, Pierce nailed a three-pointer, resulting in him scoring 25,000 points in his career. He finished the half with 10 points.

Similar to Wednesday night's game in Orlando, the Nets played a lackadaisical first half, but then turned things around a bit in the third quarter. The Nets outscored Atlanta 26-19 the quarter, cutting their eight point deficit to just one. The score heading into the fourth quarter: 74-73, in favor of the Hawks.

Paul Millsap finished the quarter with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Millsap, along with Teague, were both emerging legitimate threats for Atlanta to use against Brooklyn in the last 12 minutes of the game.

You can't knock the heart of the Nets. They essentially have nothing to play for with their playoff seeding almost a certain lock. Yet, they continued to fight hard in this game with guys like Paul Pierce pounding their chest after a big play.

The fourth quarter was consistent throughout, both teams exchanging buckets. The Hawks had a one point lead with 2:22 remaining, despite shooting an abysmal 1-18 from three point. Atlanta needed this game more than Brooklyn, especially after receiving news that the Knicks had defeated the Toronto Raptors.

The Nets were down 91-88 with one minute remaining. They failed to score on three straight offensive possessions, leading to the Nets first loss at home since the last day of January. Their home win-streak lasted 15 games, a new franchise high.

Final score: Hawks 93, Nets 88.

Paul Millsap led all scorers with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Teague was right behind him with 22 points of his own.

For Brooklyn, Mason Plumlee led the team with 17 points off the bench, along with Marcus Thornton who chipped in 14 as well. Jorge Gutierrez, who started in place for Deron Williams, scored a career-high 11 points.

The Nets next matchup will be this Sunday at home, where they welcome the Orlando Magic to Brooklyn. With the Knick win over the Raptors, the Bulls moved into third, meaning if the season ended Saturday, the Nets would play Toronto in the first round.  Toronto plays Detroit, Milwaukee and New York in their final three games. The Bulls New York, Orlando and Charlotte.

For more on the Atlanta Hawks, check them out at Peachtree Hoops.

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