At the very least, it won't be a sweep. Staring down a possible 3-0 deficit, the Brooklyn Nets did just enough to beat the top seeded Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon. The series is now 2-1 in favor of the Hawks and Brooklyn has a chance to even it up tonight.
Where to follow the game
You kinda know what the deal is as it relates to the Yankees, so they'll be facing the Tampa Bay Rays on YES Network and WFAN 101.9 FM. For the Nets, you can watch the game on My9 (NBATV for the out of towners) and listen in at WCBS 880 AM. Tip is after 7 PM.
Hand in hand
It's a busy night around the Association. Here's a look at the games and what times they'll be coming on:
Milwaukee at Chicago, Game 5 - 8 PM on TNT
Memphis at Portland, Game 4 - 10:30 PM on TNT
Deron Williams is dealing with a severe case of tendinitis and a sore back, but as of now he's expected to play.
Still no Thabo Sefolosha thanks to the NYPD. Everybody else will be ready to go for Atlanta.
Here's how the series has gone so far:
Offensive Rebounding Rate
Free Throw Rate
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage
We're almost to the point where we have to ask whether the Nets will be better off with Deron Williams not in the starting lineup. Throughout the second half of the season, Williams shot 39 percent from the field. In the three games this series, it's gotten worse as D-Will is shooting 26 percent from the field in 29 minutes a night. Lionel Hollins has said that he won't make any changes to the starting five, but with Williams cold and banged up, you do wonder if Hollins will turn to Jarrett Jack a bit more. Williams checked out of the game with four minutes to go in the third quarter and never returned.
Whoever sees the majority of minutes at the point will be tasked with keeping the duo of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder under wraps. The Atlanta point guards were cold on Saturday and missed a variety of shots near the rim. They're both under 40 percent in this series and Brooklyn can contain them by keeping them on the perimeter and goading them into taking jump shots. Both guards can break down the defense and get to the rim, so keeping them on the perimeter and forcing them into tough jumpers is the way to go.
One of the major factors that has allowed the Nets to stay in this series is defense. The Hawks were one of the best offenses in the league during the season, averaging 106.2 points per 100 possessions and amassing an effective field goal percentage of 52.7 percent. In this series, those numbers are down dramatically. The Nets deserve credit, but it should be noted that the Hawks missed a fair amount of open looks on Saturday afternoon. It's unlikely ATL will be that cold from the field, and to get a little more specific, don't count on Kyle Korver going 1-8 from the field again.
The frontcourt pairings figure to play a major role tonight. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are a little banged up, but they're fighting through it. Horford is coming off of a pretty poor performance, making only three of his 12 shot attempts in 30 minutes and only getting to the foul line twice. Lopez has managed to control the boards (you shouldn't necessarily be surprised by that. The Hawks were a poor rebounding team throughout the season and Brook was one of the better rebounders in traffic) and has been getting more looks on the inside as the series has progressed. If Lopez can continue getting to the free throw line and scoring in the low post, it will open up better opportunities for his teammates on the perimeter. Thaddeus Young and Millsap are a wash at the power forward position.
Millsap told the Post that the Hawks are going to try to stop Lopez and Johnson from posting up...
"We know what they are trying to run, who they are trying to get the ball to. It’s just us trying to stop them and their two players in particular — Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. They like to post the ball up. It’s just us trying to stop them."
Player to watch: DeMarre Carroll
Carroll is the least heralded player in Atlanta's starting five, but he's done well anyways. Carroll 48.7 percent from the field in the regular season, and in this series has shot 46.9 percent. With his All Star teammates either banged up, struggling, or both, it's beneficial to have a player like Carroll. Backing him up is the dapmaster Kent Bazemore. Bazemore had an awful Game Three, so if this game is close throughout, Carroll will see a ton of minutes.
With Deron Williams at less than 100 percent, it'll be up to Joe Johnson to complement Lopez on the offensive end. Johnson spent the first two games getting hassled by the crowd at Phillips Arena and he hasn't had a breakthrough game yet against his former club. He's shooting 34 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three point range. It's pretty amazing that the games have been close with Johnson unable to play to his usual standard. Luckily, Alan Anderson has been playing well since his return from the ankle injury that cost him seven games down the stretch.
From the Vault
Last year, the Hawks were up 2-1 heading to Game 4 in the 1-8 matchup. Unfortunately for them, Paul George stood in their way.
- Brooklyn Nets Playoff Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Atlanta Hawks Playoff Game Notes - Atlanta Hawks
- Hawks-Nets Preview - Jack Cassidy - STATS LLC
- Deron Williams of Brooklyn Nets suffering from tendinitis, according to teammate Joe Johnson - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Lopez's play gives Nets a fighting chance - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Enraged Hawk vows Nets revenge: ‘Hated our game’ - Marc Berman - New York Post
- Nets find trick to finally getting spacing on offense - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Lionel Hollins admits sad truth in Deron Williams defense - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Lionel Hollins lashes out at Deron Williams' critics - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets coach Lionel Hollins defends Deron Williams from criticism - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Lionel Hollins backs up Nets guard Deron Williams - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Deron Williams’s Injury Lingers After Nets’ Reviving Win - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Hollins defends Williams; Johnson says guard has tendinitis - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Brooklyn Nets Could Save NBA From 1st-Round Doldrums - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
- Deron Williams has "severe" tendinitis, Joe Johnson says - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Brook Lopez Has Been Nets Big Advantage Vs. Hawks - Allen Robertson - The Brooklyn Game
- Hawks thankful for games now every other day - Chris Vivlamore - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Nets show flashes of what could have been in Game 3 victory - Howard Megdal - USA Today