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Nets fall to 0-5 as the Hawks defeat them 101-87 in Atlanta

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets were losers of four straight prior to their meeting with Atlanta, the team that ended its season in the first round of last year's playoffs. That alone was enough motivation for Brooklyn, nonetheless being 0-4 to open the season.

The first win wasn't happening Wednesday, though, as the Nets lost to the Atlanta Hawks, 101-87.

Even with Kyle Korver sitting out due to injury, the Nets still struggled to defend the Hawks who shot 49 percent from the field and 8-for-22 from three. Dennis Schroder filled in his spot nicely, however, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

This was a game the Nets could've had. Brook Lopez was an absolute beast with 27 points and 11 rebounds on 11-of-16 shooting, but his help was limited. Thaddeus Young chipped in 14 & 10 and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 12 off the bench.

The Nets trailed 84-82 with eight minutes left, but Atlanta went on a 17-5 run to increase the lead up to 14 with under two minutes remaining. Brooklyn even led Atlanta at the half, but some of the lineups from Lionel Hollins were baffling.

His usage of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was especially alarming.

The game changed when Hollis-Jefferson checked in the second quarter. Having played just four minutes Monday vs. the Bucks, Hollis-Jefferson appeared to be out of the rotation behind a struggling Wayne Ellington.

But that shouldn't be the case.

Hollis-Jefferson checked in while the Nets were down eight and made an immediate impact with three steals in five minutes.  He helped the Nets finish the half with a 20-10 advantage, 43-41 lead at the half. He doesn't need to score in order to be a difference maker, clearly.

Ellington was just 3-of-11 from three heading into tonight. He finished 4-of-8 from the field, but also finished with a minus-11. Hollis-Jefferson was a plus-13.

However, he didn't play at all in the third quarter and played just one minute in the fourth. The Hawks immediately went on an 11-2 run when he checked out. Coincidence? I think not.

Still, Hollins said after the game he saw some light at the end of what has become a very dark tunnel.

"We are moving forward. It doesn’t look like it because we are still losing. But I think that we are moving forward" he told writers, but added that the team's defense is the culprit.

"First of all, we’ve got to guard the ball," adding Brooklyn had "too many blow bys."

Hollins explained RHJ’s limited minutes by saying he went with Ellington to give Brooklyn an extra shooter on the floor.

"I went with Wayne to get a shooter out there, and I knew they were going to go small, so I came back with Joe [Johnson] at the four and played Joe and Rondae together," Hollins said.

Atlanta outscored the Nets 29-17 in the fourth quarter. Can't win games like that, especially if you have Brook Lopez sitting on the bench until the six minute mark of the final quarter. Also, they should probably give the big fella more than 16 shot attempts.

The Nets out-rebounded the Hawks 43-34, but turned the ball over 19 times which led to 25 fastbreak points. Shane Larkin and Thaddeus Young each had four turnovers. Larkin especially struggled on the night -- not just controlling the rock -- but covering Jeff Teague as well.

Joe Johnson scored just five points on 1-of-10 shooting. Jarrett Jack finished with just six on 3-of-10 shooting.

Brooklyn looks to get its first win of the season against Kobe Bryant and the (also) win-less Los Angeles Lakers this Friday at Barclays Center.

Highlight of the game for the Nets may have been this Instagram post by Shekinah Young, Thaddeus's wife...

Who needs commentators when I have these 2!

A video posted by Shekinah Young (@mrs__young33) on

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