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Hawks bring their winning streak to Brooklyn

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San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Three is not the magic number. The Brooklyn Nets played the Sixers on Sunday afternoon and once again, the third quarter ruined their chance to get a chance at a victory as they lost 105-95 on Sunday afternoon. It was their sixth straight loss.

Joining the Nets this evening will be the Atlanta Hawks. This is the last night of their four game road trip and it’s been a successful one for them. They beat the Mavericks on Saturday night and have won six straight games. The Hawks are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, but their situation is a bit... complicated. More on that in a bit.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV. WFAN 101.9 FM for radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin is out with a hamstring injury. Trevor Booker is questionable with a hip injury. Chris McCullough remains with Long Island and will play Tuesday afternoon.

Tiago Splitter has yet to play this season as he’s been sidelined by a hamstring and now calf injury.

The game

Let’s get to this one quickly. Hawks GM Wes Wilcox held an event with Hawks fans back in December and got around to making an angry Black woman joke and talking about his mixed race kids because he was in a tough room. That is incredibly stupid. He was being stupid. Don’t play yourself and make yourself look stupid trying to defend his comment. Stop being stupid.

Moving on, it appears the Hawks are starting to begin the rebuilding process. They traded swingman and former All Star Kyle Korver to the Cavs for Mike Dunleavy Jr and Mo Williams (who is pretty much retired at this point). It marked the end of a great tenure in Atlanta for Korver and his contributions will be missed. Dunleavy won’t be with the team tonight as he will be undergoing a physical in Atlanta. There have also rumors surrounding Tim Hardaway and more importantly, Paul Millsap. Coach Mike Budenholzer discussed the speculation surrounding the team and said:

“Organizationally, we have to make hard decisions. I think it’s important that each one of them puts us in the best situation, the best place, to be a great organization. In this case, we made a trade that wasn’t easy. It was a hard decision. This is a good team that we have. This is a team that has shown an ability to compete at a high level. Keeping it together is something … I just wouldn’t make any assumptions going forward.”

In off the court news for Brooklyn, the team waived Anthony Bennett and signed Quincy Acy to a ten day contract.

Over the summer, the Nets made a push to acquire Kent Bazemore in free agency. However, the Hawks were able to retain his services as they signed him to a four year $70 million contract. He missed two games in early December due to a knee injury. On the whole, it's been a pretty disappointing year for Bazemore. He's shooting a career low 37 percent from the field and the Hawks offense has been better when he hasn't been on the court. He’ll be matched up with Bojan Bogdanovic. For someone who’s become the Nets second option on offense, they need him to be more consistent if they want to have a decent chance of winning.

Quietly, Dwight Howard is (kinda) back to being the excellent player he was back in Orlando. Dwight was never dominant in the low post, so most of his offense has come from putbacks (he's collected a career high 17.5 percent of offensive rebounds when he's on the court) and pick-and-roll opportunities. However, defensively is where he's looked like a star again. This year, opponents are only shooting 50.4 percent on shots inside of six feet against Howard. That's a dramatic improvement over the 58.5 percent (2015-2016), 55.3 percent (2014-2015), and 56 percent (2013-2014) opponents shot against him while he was in Houston. Howard will be matched up with a familiar foe in Brook Lopez. The Nets hope Lopez will be able to draw Howard away from the rim and make rebounding easier for other Nets on the inside. On a related note, this March marks five years since the Howard trade drama. That should be a fun trip down memory lane.

The teams’ head coaches will need no pre-game introduction. Kenny Atkinson served at Mike Budenholzer’s lead assistant for four years before the Nets plucked him off their coaching staff. Both men think it will be weird to coach against each other after being colleagues for so long.

Player to watch: Paul Millsap

Millsap has been one of the best power forwards in the league over the past few seasons.. Millsap is a good scoring power forward that can stretch the floor with his three point shooting, score down low, and is a good pick-and-roll partner. On defense, he defends the post well, can switch out to guards on P&Rs, and is a net positive overall when he's in the game as compared to when he's not. He was on the trade market a few days ago, bu the Hawks have reportedly pulled him back. It’s still fairly early in trade season, so the Hawks have plenty of time to decide what they want to do going forward.

Depending on Booker’s availability, the Nets will be short at the four this evening. Assuming he’s out, Justin Hamilton will likely start alongside Lopez. Luis Scola would be the backup, but he’s only played once since December 23. This could be a good spot for Chris McCullough, but he’s still with the Long Island Nets for the time being. As we get closer to game time, we’ll find out what the deal is with Booker.

From the Vault

The last time the Nets were in the playoffs, Korver helped put an end to their season in Brooklyn.

More reading: Peachtree Hoops