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Nets Fall Prey to Hawks' 17-game Win Streak, 113-102

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Add the Brooklyn Nets to the list of most recent prey for the Atlanta Hawks and their incredible winning streak.

The Hawks defeated the Nets, 113-102, a game the Nets probably had no business even competing in. It's the 17th straight victory --and 31st out of the last 33-- for Atlanta, a team that has emerged as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and suddenly, a favorite to win it all. It's also the 11th loss in the last 13 games for Brooklyn.

This is also the same team the Nets will swap draft picks with at the end of the season. At this point, that would mean the Nets would get the 29th pick and the Hawks a lottery selection. Sigh.

The Nets trailed by nine with seven minutes remaining in the game, but Kyle Korver hit a three to put the Hawks up 12, and add to a 9-3 run that built Atlanta's lead up to 15 with 4:37 left. It was the biggest lead of the night.

However, the Nets wouldn't give up. They went on a 7-0 run and cut the deficit down to eight with three minutes remaining, but a 23-foot three pointer from Paul Millsap increased the lead back up to 11 with 2:35 remaining. That was like the Nets entire night in a nutshell; Play well enough to build up hope, just to watch Atlanta reject them with a big bucket of some sort. A mirage.

Korver, the best shooter in the league and one of the best all-time, scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from three. At one point in the late stages in the game, Korver had just as many threes as Brooklyn.

The Nets didn't necessarily play bad, but rather, the Atlanta Hawks played like the championship caliber team they are. Put it this way: The Nets shot 13-of-20 (65%) in the first quarter, but still trailed by three at quarter's end. It was that kind of game. Anything - and - everything they did, just wasn't good enough.

All five Hawks' starters finished in double figures, while the team as a whole shot 46% from the field and 12-of-33 on three. Paul Millsap led the team with 28 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocked shots. Al Horford also had a big night with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Atlanta also dished out 29 assists, out-rebounded the Nets, 45-35, and nailed 25-of-26 free throws.

A big part of Atlanta's success in this game was the use of their quick point guard's Jeff Teague (13 points, 11 assists) and Dennis Schroder (13 points). On most offensive sets, Teague or Schroder would blaze by the defender on their initial step, opening up the entire floor for them to penetrate-then-kick to the outside. Hence why they get so many open threes.

The Nets forced seven turnovers in the first quarter, but forced just six the rest of the way, resulting in a total of 13 turnovers from Atlanta and 13 points for the Nets.

Joe Johnson picked up his play with 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting in 37 minutes played. Coincidentally, Joe played like a star on three days rest, perhaps something he'll need more of in order to play at a high level. It was his best game since December 23 when he went off for a season-high 27 points.

Brook Lopez had a big game off the bench with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Alan Anderson, who got the start for Bojan Bogdanovic, scored 15 points, while Jarrett Jack scored 14 and notched a career-high with 13 assists and only one turnover. Mason Plumlee finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Nets are losers in 11 of their last 13 games with their next three games coming against winning teams. Their next game is Friday night vs. the Toronto Raptors, a division battle between two rivals that should've been a much anticipated game. Not so much anymore.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Nets started the game with a 13-5 lead after a hot 6-for-8 start, with swarming defense that forced six Atlanta turnovers within four minutes. They built their lead up to eight, but the Hawks finished on a 17-6 run that gave them a three point lead by quarter's end. Joe Johnson scored nine points while the Nets shot 13-of-20 from the field with seven forced turnovers. The Hawks led, 30-27.

Second quarter ... The Hawks took their lead from the first quarter and never looked back. Paul Millsap was the anchor on the offensive end, finishing the half with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. He was making the Nets' defense look silly. Still, he was one of many feeling good for Atlanta. They shot 8-of-16 from three and converted on 16-of-16 from the free throw line, which helped play a key role in outscoring the Nets, 34-26, in the second quarter.

It wasn't as if the Nets played bad, but rather that Atlanta had too many offensive weapons. Joe Johnson led the team with 14 points, Brook Lopez with 10 points and Alan Anderson with seven.

Score at the half: Hawks 64, Nets 53.

Third quarter ... The Nets looked good to start the second half. They trailed by double digits heading into the half, but with the help of a 9-2 run, they cut their deficit down to four. It didn't last very long, though. The Nets grew ice cold late in the quarter, going scoreless for a near-three minute stretch. They scored 28 points in the quarter and trailed, 89-81, heading into the fourth quarter. Joe Johnson was the high scorer with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting...  Coincidentally, he's playing on three days rest.

Fourth quarter ... The Nets trailed by nine with seven minutes remaining in the game, but Kyle Korver hit a three to put the Hawks up 12 and add to a 9-3 run that saw Atlanta build the lead up to 15 with 4:37 left on the clock. It was the biggest lead of the night.

However, the Nets wouldn't give up. They went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit down to eight with a little over three minutes remaining, but a 23-foot three pointers from Paul Millsap increased the lead back up to 11 with 2:35 remaining. That was like the Nets entire night in a nutshell; Play well enough to build up hope, just to watch Atlanta reject them with a big bucket of some sort. A mirage.

And with Wednesday's loss, the Nets now have a worse record than the Knicks in January, 3-11 to the Knicks 4-8.

"We gave ourselves a chance," said Joe Johnson. "Considering the past [few] games … that’s all you can ask for."

"If we can stay in [contention] and get in the playoffs, that would be great," Lionel Hollins added. "That’s what we’re striving for. We’re still right there. … We’ve just got to find a way to get it back. And can we get it back? I don’t know."

After the loss to the Hawks, the Nets are in ninth place in the East, a half game behind the Hornets and a game and a half ahead of the Celtics.

Final score: Hawks 113, Nets 102.

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