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Nets take Game 3 at home with 91-83 victory over Atlanta

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- Welcome to Brooklyn, Atlanta!

The Nets headed into Saturday down 2-0 in the series, but put up a phenomenal defensive effort against the Hawks and defeated them in Game 3, 91-83. They trail in the series 2-1, but finally after seven games between the two teams, the Nets stole the most important one.

The Nets looked like a team that belonged here, late in the third quarter and then early in the fourth. They carried a 9-2 run over into the fourth quarter, where they held Atlanta scoreless for over six minutes. It resulted in an 18-0 run and 14-point lead. Interesting enough, the Nets trailed 60-58 when Jarrett Jack checked in for Deron Williams. Suddenly, the Nets went on the 18-0 run with Jack facilitating the offense at an impressive rate.

Meanwhile, Deron Williams struggled yet again. After a horrid 1-for-7 performance in Game 2, Williams teased the Brooklyn crowd by opening up the game with a smooth three-pointer. It was his only points on the night and only field goal of the night. Deron finished 1-for-8 from the field and watched the Nets finish off the Hawks from the bench.

Although, he attributed the benching to a lower back injury. "I was pretty sore so I don't know how effective I could've been," Williams said. "I think coach kind of saw that and of course I want to be on the floor, but Jarrett Jack was playing well and the guys did a good job of closing it out."

Deron Williams is now 7-of-26 this series.

"I just try to be ready when my number is called," said Jack. "Right now he's [Deron Williams] is a bit banged up, so if I have to come in to give him some relief I try to do the best I can."

And while Williams continued to disappoint, others were forced to pick up their play. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 22 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Atlanta big men have struggled with Lopez, so we continue to wonder... why did he only take seven shots in Game 1 again?

After a poor performance in Game 2, Thaddeus Young was apologetic to his team. "First thing I said when I came into the locker room the other night was, 'Fellas, I'm sorry. I didn't give you guys anything tonight. I've got to be better,'" Young said Friday. "I take pride in everything I do out there on the court and I take losses hard."

Young led all scorers at the half and finished the night with 18 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double in the series. While Thaddeus Young slashed through the paint and scored his buckets the rugged way, Bojan Bogdanovic camped out on the perimeter and took control.

He finished with 19 points and three steals on 3-of-7 shooting from three. Once he hit the three consistently, he would pump-fake then drive to the hole. It was a thing of beauty, just like Brooklyn's ball movement. Joe Johnson also chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite shooting just 39% from the field, the Nets dished out 24 assists with Jarrett Jack as the main facilitator with eight assists. The Hawks finished with 22 assists, but turned the ball over 16 times and shot just 36% from the field and 21% from three.

DeMarre Carrol was the leading scorer for Atlanta with 22 points, but committed four turnovers. Paul Millsap chipped in 18. Brooklyn contained everybody else besides those two. Kyle Korver (two points), Jeff Teague (12 points), and Al Horford (seven points) shot a combined 8-of-33 from the field. Brooklyn's defense was swarming.

It appeared as if Lionel Hollins had them switching on most picks, despite certain mismatches that may've resulted in so.

Joe Johnson agreed.

"Just us playing here at home. It gives us extra motivation, that energy boost we need. Guys really talking, communicating, moving on defense, and switching - switching a lot. Not letting Korver come off and get wide open looks."

"It's always a combination of a lot of things," Korver said. "You give them credit, they are a big, physical team and they were pushing us off our spots a little bit, but I feel like we can definitely play better too."

"It's just hustle," Hollins said afterwards. "It's hustle. They held us under 40 percent too, so both teams are scrapping and clawing. It's just a good series. It's important that we come out with the same effort, the same energy, the same execution on Monday."

And finally, Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer:

"It's going to be a series."

Next up: The Nets and Hawks will play Game 4 this Monday night in Brooklyn, where the home team will look to even the series and head back to Atlanta on a good note.


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