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Ugly: Nets Fail to Reach .500, Get Stomped by Hawks, 98-75

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- For the third time of the short season, the Brooklyn Nets owned a winning streak heading into Friday night's matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. The first win of the mini-streak came against the lowly Knicks, but the most recent victory was against the San Antonio Spurs, their first win over a winning team through 17 games.

The Nets hoped to continue the trend Friday night and reach .500, but the Hawks had other intentions. Atlanta came into Brooklyn and embarrassed the home team, 98-75. The two teams were in the midst of what looked to be a closely contested matchup in the first quarter, with the Nets escaping the first quarter leading by two. It didn't last very long, though. The Hawks answered with a 36-13 second quarter, a quarter in which they found their largest lead of the night at 19 late in the half. They took the lead, ran with it and never looked back.

After the game, Joe Johnson gave credit to his former team and their stellar offensive outburst in the second quarter.

"Second quarter, I'm not even sure honestly. Other than them making shots, that's all I can think of. It just seemed if we cut it to 15, then they come down and make two more threes. Honestly, we couldn't stop them." Johnson continued. "They've (Hawks) been in the hunt for the past few years now. I thought last year they were right there, like number three then Al (Horford) gets hurt and then they go into a little slump. They got a lot of guys who can play. They'll fly under the radar and then before you know it, they'll be right there in the hunt for things."

There's only so many expectations when you shoot the ball as poorly as Brooklyn did. They finished the game having shot an overall 37.5% from the field and 16.7% from three. Odd enough, they out-rebounded the Hawks 51-46, but failed to capitalize on that one advantage.

The Hawks on the other hand shot the ball 43.2% overall and 38.2% from three, mostly behind the attack of DeMarre Carrol who shot 4-for-5 from three. Atlanta, who rank third in the NBA in assists per game, out-assisted Brooklyn 22-16and stole the rock from Brooklyn 12 times, resulting in 19 Nets' turnovers and 22 points of those turnovers for Atlanta.

The Nets' starters and Mirza Teletovic were benched in the fourth quarter after trailing by 23 heading into the fourth quarter. It was clear that Lionel Hollins was not thrilled with his teams poor performance. And rightly so. Other than Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, the rest of the Nets starting lineup combined for just 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

The Nets face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night.

"You know, at this point, we've got to focus on ourselves." Brook Lopez said about the upcoming matchup. "I don't think we're really looking at opponents. We're still a work in progress, and we need to focus on ourselves."

Top Performers for Brooklyn: Brook Lopez was one of the few bright spots for Brooklyn. He scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting. Other than Lopez, Joe Johnson was the only other Net in double figures with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Top Performers for Atlanta: DeMarre Carrol lit the Nets up in this one, the first half in particular. He finished the night with 18 points and six rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 shooting from three. Paul Millsap also put up a nice stat line of 17 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block in 27 minutes.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Nets and Hawks started their night with a back and fourth battle with offensive production somewhat a scarcity. Brooklyn led for most of the quarter, but their 36% shooting wasn't enough to kickstart them into opening the game up even more than they did. On the other hand, their defense was spectacular. They forced the Hawks to shoot 26.3% overall and 26.3% from three -- a big portion of the Hawks' style of play -- with Kyle Korver owning the downtown area this season. Not in the first quarter, though.

The Nets led 18-16 after the first quarter.

Second quarter ... The Nets' first quarter shooting woes carried into the second quarter. They started the second having shot 1-for-11 within the first 7:06 minutes of the quarter, with the Hawks outscoring them 18-4 within that span. At that point, the Hawks found their biggest lead of the game at 12, then eventually at 19 later in the quarter.

The Hawks outscored the Nets 36-13 in the quarter alone, while Brooklyn shot an overall 31.7% and 22% from three. The Hawks also scored 10 points off eight Nets' turnovers. They were led by DeMarre Carrol, who scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 4-of-5 shooting from three. For Brooklyn, Brook Lopez led the way with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting.

The score at the half: Hawks 52, Nets 31.

Third quarter ... Things didn't get much better for Brooklyn in the third quarter. They played exceptionally well and were only outscored by two in the quarter, but if they wanted to gain any ground in the game in hopes to make a run in the fourth, they failed. Their offense other than Brook Lopez was bad. Real bad. Lopez scored 11 points in the quarter tallying his total at 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting. His 11 points provided nearly half of the Nets third quarter points, while as a team they shot just 36% from the field and continued to miss at an alarming rate from three.

For Atlanta, Paul Millsap was emerging as a legitimate threat to the Nets. He was headed into the fourth quarter with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Jeff Teague chipped in 14 points and five assists.

The Hawks led the Nets 78-55 heading into the fourth.

Fourth quarter ... The Nets came out with a lineup of Jorge Gutierrez, Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Cory Jefferson and Mason Plumlee to start the fourth quarter. Whether it was a message to the starters or a desperate attempt for some energy, Lionel Hollins was making it known that he was not even a little satisfied with the showing from his team.

As the quarter progressed, it became more evident that Hollins was going to give the bench guys legitimate burn. The white towel was thrown in before the fourth quarter even began.

Final score: Hawks 98, Nets 75.

The Brooklyn Nets will not only welcome Prince William and Kate Middleton to Brooklyn this Monday night, but LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as well.

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