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Nets and Hawks battle for series lead in Atlanta

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"Back on the strip another hit I'm not gon' miss"
"Back on the strip another hit I'm not gon' miss"
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

It is now a best of three series. The Brooklyn Nets held homecourt and came away with an impressive 120-115 victory over the top seeded Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network and TNT on television with WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Tip off is at 7 PM.

Hand in hand

Only one other game on the docket tonight. Memphis will try to close out Portland at home tonight. That game will be on TNT and will start at 9:30 PM.

Injuries

Everybody that can play will play for the Nets and Hawks, except for Thabo Sefolosha.

The game

Here's how the series has been going:

Playoffs

Brooklyn Atlanta

Record

2-2 2-2

Pace

95.75 95.75

Offensive Efficiency

101.3 99

Defensive Efficiency

99 101.3

Turnover Rate

14.9 14.4

Assist Rate

17.2 17.7

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.5 24.1

Rebounding Rate

50.3 49.7

Free Throw Rate

25.6 20.6

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.4 47.3

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.3 49.4

I think Deron Williams heard everyone that has been criticizing him over the past couple of months. From Paul Pierce to everybody else with an internet connection, D-Will's game has been torn apart from all angles. Williams had his best game this year, scoring a game high 35 points and making seven three pointers. With the terrible run of play Williams has had, a dude on Twitter bet that he'd eat a mailbox key if Williams scored 30. He didn't end up eating the key tho. It's only one game, but if Deron is shooting well, it creates a new set of difficulties for Atlanta's defense.

In keeping our focus at the point guard position, the Hawks have a bit of a problem. Jeff Teague had a good Game Four, but we the Nets strategy against him is clear. Teague is at his best when he's able to break down a defense and get to the rim. The Nets have been able to goad Teague into taking jumpers, which isn't his strong suit., Over at Peachtree Hoops, Brad Rowland made note of the short term issues as well as a bigger long term one with Dennis Schroder's struggles:

Still, there are some significant risks to simply benching Dennis Schröder at this stage, and that is not an avenue that I would support. While Jeff Teague is still on the roster and under control moving forward, Schröder is a home-grown talent that some see as the team's "point guard of the future". With that in mind, yanking him in the aftermath of two horrific showings would undoubtedly be a ding to his (considerable) confidence, and Bud theoretically risks "losing" Schröder as an option moving forward with this choice.

Keep an eye out for this.

Quiet as it's kept, Brook Lopez has been the best player on the court this series. As the series has gone on, the Nets have gotten him more and more shot opportunities closer to the rim. The Hawks have worked to mix up their defensive coverage on Lopez, but Lionel Hollins and the rest of the Nets have managed to make the necessary adjustments so far.  It also helps that Al Horford is playing with an injured right finger. He had a good game on Monday, but he only played 31 minutes as he dealt with foul trouble. The Nets should continue centering their offense around Brook and trust that he will make the right decisions when facing the Hawks double team.

One of the things about the playoffs is that your rotations have to be very short. You can't afford to have your best players sitting out too long if his backup isn't all that good. This is something to keep in mind with DeMarre Carroll. Carroll has been Atlanta's best player this series and his sub, Kent Bazemore, has not played well in his 17 minutes of action each night. Carroll is averaging 36 minutes a game and shooting 49 percent from the field. Mike Budenholzer will need to cut down on Bazemore's minutes and have Carroll play more if the game is close throughout.

The team that has won the turnover battle in each game has come away with the victory. Managing your possessions and avoiding making careless mistakes will be the key to victory this evening.

Player to watch: Kyle Korver

Korver has been one of the best shooters in the league since he broke in with the 76ers 12 (!!!) years ago. He's shot over 40 percent from three point range nine times in his career, including the last six years in a row. That track record makes this series all the more surprising. After making five three pointers in Game One, he's only made seven out of his last 25. At the end of the game, Korver missed three good chances to even the game up at 116. The Nets have made sure to contest every shot attempt and leave him no room catching the ball coming off screens. The Hawks offense lives on great ball movement, so if you're the Nets, good communication and sharp rotations are critical. We've already seen how late game miscommunication can cost you.

The switch from Markel Brown to Bojan Bogdanovic has paid off for the Nets. Brown hasn't gotten on the court since the early portions of Game One. With Bogdanovic on the court, the Nets have someone who can stretch the defense out and bank on three pointers once the defense decides to double team. Bogdanovic made three from downtown, including what turned out to be the game winner off of a Brook Lopez double team. He's also done a surprisingly good job on the defensive end. How Budenholzer and Hollins counter each other's moves will be something worth keeping an eye on.

From the Vault

The Hawks were in a 2-2 series last year, except the roles were reversed. Here's what they did to the Pacers in Indiana.

More reading: Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation NBA