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Close, but no cigar: Nets fight but fall to Hawks in Game One, 99-92

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Finally! The day we've all been waiting for... Game One of the NBA playoffs between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks. The Nets were hoping to take their first step toward pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. So they had hoped, anyway,. It's the eighth seed up against the No. 1 seed. That kind of upset has only happened five times in NBA history.

Brooklyn didn't get the result they had hoped for. They battled, but the Hawks defeated them in Atlanta, 99-92, in the opening test for the Nets and their exorbitant playoff roster.

The story:

The Nets trailed by 10 at half after a horrendous first quarter in which they were outscored (32-20), outplayed, and outsmarted. The Nets somehow found a way to do quite the opposite of what they needed to do, after dishing out ZERO assists in the first quarter while committing six turnovers.

Brook Lopez scored nine points and nine rebounds in the half, despite not having a play run through him until the 1:50 mark of the first half. That's over 22 minutes of Brook not getting the ball on offense .... 22 minutes! It was only the start.

The Nets eventually cut the halftime deficit down to three after a 9-0 run. By no surprise, it was behind the one offensive spurt that Deron Williams provided in the game. He was quiet before, and quiet after. How quickly things changed, though, as Atlanta called a timeout after the 9-0 Brooklyn run and answered with a 17-4 run. Suddenly their lead was extended to a whopping 16 points. The Nets couldn't capitalize even though Jeff Teague was sitting on the bench with four personal fouls.

At that point, Lopez had only attempted six shots. He still had 13 points and 13 rebounds, but only one offensive set was ran through the big fella in the third quarter. It was mind boggling to see the teams offensive leader utilized so poorly in a playoff game. Onto the fourth we went..

In the fourth quarter, the Nets trailed by only five with 26 seconds left, but Deron Williams missed on a contested three-pointer that would've put the Nets down two with roughly 15 seconds left. The Hawks would then shut the door on Brooklyn's hopes at the free throw line.

It was a good effort -- a 30-25 fourth quarter advantage for Brooklyn containing several runs -- most notably a 7-0 run that cut their deficit down to four with close to two minutes remaining. As they say: close, but no cigar. It wasn't a bad loss, but there's certainly some things the Nets needed to fix in order to steal this game.

Brook Lopez finished with 17 points and 14 (6 offensive) rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting. To put things into perspective, five other players had attempted more shots than Lopez, namely Jarrett Jack & Bojan Bogdnaovic off the bench, along with Earl Clark, who finished with one less attempt than Brook.

Brook averaged 17 attempts during the final 16 games of the season.

Post-game, isiah Thomas and Rick Fox ripped the Nets game plan,

"Their reluctance to throw the ball inside baffles me," said an agitated Thomas. "As a big man playing for the Brooklyn Nets, I would be sooo upset with the guards. The big man should go into the locker room and there should be a fight with the little guard. He should grab that little guard and throw him up on the floor and say, 'Next time, when I'm open, throw me the call in the paint.'

"Watching the game as a point guard, I am seriously frustrated that you've got bigs underneath the basket with a man sealed on their back and you are reluctant to throw them the basketball."

The numbers:

The Nets committed 17 turnovers which led to 24 points for Atlanta. They shot 25% from three and 46% from the field. The Hawks surprisingly shot lower than the Nets did (43%). The turnovers was ultimately the difference maker.

The Nets also out-rebounded the Hawks 47-39 and scored 54 points in the paint.

Free throws: Nets, 15-of-22. Hawks 21-of-22.

Aside from Lopez, the Nets were led by Joe Johnson (17 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals) and Thaddeus Young (15 point & 10 rebounds in 40 minutes). Deron Williams & Jarrett Jack (5 turnovers) chipped in 13 points apiece. Bojan Bogdanovic struggled in his NBA playoff debut after shooting 2-of-8 from the field. Markel Brown looked good early after a nice put-back slam, but didn't see action after the first quarter.

For Atlanta, Kyle Korver led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll finished with 17 apiece, while Al Horford put home a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Midway through the fourth, Horford walked to the locker room after an apparent finger injury. He returned minutes later, but looked somewhat aggravated by the injury.

Next up:

The Nets and Hawks will play Game Two this Wednesday at 7:00pm EST in Atlanta again. The guys in black won't return to Brooklyn until next Saturday for Game Three, but they're hoping to steal one on the road before even thinking about their return to New York.

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