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Knife to Brooklyn's heart: Nets late comeback falls short; lose to Hawks, 114-111

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- Mikhail Prokhorov may have been in the building for just his second appearance of the season, but by no means did it guarantee a Brooklyn victory, despite the disparity of their playoff hopes.

It came down to the very last second with the Nets fighting as hard as they possibly could against the number one seeded Hawks.

They trailed by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, but worked a 16-3 run to find their first lead of the night at 109-108 with three minutes remaining. Moments later, they went back down one, but Deron Williams answered with a tough floater on the right block with 33 seconds left.

The Hawks came out on the offensive end and worked the possession to perfection. They decoyed Kyle Korver to take a spot-up three in the corner. Brook Lopez hedged a bit too much, leaving Al Horford wide-open for a slam. Jarrett Jack couldn't follow up with his clutch play as he missed the potential game-winning shot. With two seconds remaining, they found themselves down three, but Joe Johnson rimmed out on a contested three-pointer as time expired.

"I figured the way Korver shoots the ball, I'd rather get it out of there and hope for the weak side to get a two and not a three," Lopez said of the defensive breakdown late. "Definitely gonna think about that one tonight."

Absolute heartbreaker. The final: Hawks 114, Nets 111.

The Nets outscored the Hawks 29-20 in the fourth quarter and found their first lead of the game at the 3:39 mark of the fourth quarter. The Hawks through the first three quarters were on a completely different level.

The loss comes with Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, and Thabo Sefolosha sitting out for Atlanta. But make no mistake, the Hawks were still incredible. They finished the night shooting 50% from the floor and dished out 35 assists.

Lopez vs. Horford:

Brook Lopez, as per usual, was an absolute beast. He went off for 26 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. His matchup, Al Horford, finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one block.

Bench stars: Bogdanovic vs. Scott.

Bojan Bogdanovic finished the night with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. However, he missed a wide-open potential game-winning three with 3.9 seconds remaining. "I thought it was a good shot, I thought it was going in," Bojan said afterwards. "I knew the player was coming, maybe I should've faked and gone for the layup or a jump shot inside the paint, but we played a great game, especially in the last quarter."

For Atlanta, Mike Scott was a force throughout with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Deron Williams finished with a double-double of 10 points and 13 assists. Joe Johnson, when called upon, also came up big with 21 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting. Thaddeus Young ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but fouled out in the later stages of the fourth, forcing Brooklyn to go small with Johnson at the four.

The Nets entered Wednesday's game with a 1.5 game playoff advantage with the seventh seed in the East. They desperately needed the win, but now, they stand in the eighth seed with Boston passing them for the seventh. You better get used to the Atlanta Hawks, because if the playoffs started today, that would be the Nets' first round matchup.

Next up: Washington Wizards, Friday at 7:30pm.

"It's good to hear," Brook Lopez said about Mikhail Prokhorov's pregame comments. "I like being here, I've always said that."

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