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Nets manhandled by Hawks in second half, 114-86

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

At least the Nets made it halfway across the bridge during this "bridge year."

The Nets came up short for the 30th time in 41 games this season, this time a 114-86 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. There isn't much light at the end of this dark and gloomy bridge, but rather fog and smoke that makes you wonder whether there will truly be any benefits after this nightmare of a ride.

"Halfway" is a generous statement. Halfway to where?

Nobody knows yet.

The Nets, now 4-15 on the road, haven't had much to feel good about.

But at the least of it all, Brook Lopez is healthy and playing well. Lopez played in his 100th straight game -- 53 regular season games last year, six playoff games and 41 regular season games this year. Many people wondered whether Brook would ever be able to recover from such a tough injury. Well, he's not only shown his ability to recover, but he's shown his ability to evolve into an even better player than he was before, averaging 20 points and 8.5 rebounds this season.

He was awfully quiet Saturday, though. He scored 10 points in 32 minutes.

This one didn't look too promising to begin with, but things turned ugly in the 3rd quarter. The Nets started the second half on a 7-0 run and tied the game at 57 apiece. Joe Johnson scored his 14th point off two consecutive buckets as the Nets suddenly had a chance to take control of this game.

But from that point on, the Hawks finished the quarter with a 27-11 advantage to increase the lead to 16 entering the fourth. With Brooklyn's second unit starting the fourth, things only got worse with the deficit rising all the way up to 26. The score once read 57-57 became 95-69 with eight minutes left.

Two words we've prematurely heard often this season: Game over.

The Hawks outscored the Nets 59-38 in the second half. It was ugly. Thaddeus Young did all he could with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Johnson chipped in 14 points and finally got some rest, playing only 27 minutes. Johnson's averaged a little over 14 points in the month of January, hitting 50 percent of his shots both overall and from deep. Donald Sloan finished with 12 of Brooklyn's 22 assists, but continues to prove himself unworthy of becoming a legitimate scoring threat the way Jarrett Jack was.

They finished 6-of-20 from three and turned the ball over 17 times. The Hawks, meanwhile, shot 8-of-29 from three but outscored the Nets 64-30 inside the paint. The restricted area was dominated by the powerful frontcourt duo of Al Horford (15 points) and Paul Millsap (21 points).

Atlanta dished out 34 assists behind a stellar 15-point and 10-assist night from Dennis Schroder off the bench.

Speaking of bench performance, the Hawks' bench outscored Brooklyn's bench 53- 31.

Brown was not happy with the effort, the team's worst loss of the season.

"What I told them is I want to see a little bit more fight,’’ Brown said. "When you get into adversity, things are not going your way, it’s easy to not do as much. We’ve got some guys not playing their best basketball, but they have to fight their way out of these situations. I can sit there all day and talk to them, run plays for them, but you’ve got to reach deep down and see how bad you want it.

"I thought we let go of the rope a bit. … I just want to see us play a little harder, play with a little more passion. And when things aren’t going well, I want to see us fight out of those moments.’’

Next up: @ Toronto on Monday night.

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