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REVENGE! Nets bounce back against Atlanta with a big 110-90 victory

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Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“The beauty of it, we play them [the Hawks] again and hopefully we can get them on the road,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson after a bad 114-102 loss to Atlanta on Saturday.

Revenge they seek, revenge they received.

From the time Brooklyn lost on Saturday till game time Monday, Nets players were talking revenge since Saturday, offering zero excuses behind the disappointing loss. The home-and-home permitted them to do just tgat.

They came out more prepared and grabbed a big 110-90 victory in Atlanta.

They turned a one-point deficit at half and into a 15-point lead entering the fourth for Brooklyn, using a 17-0 run at beginning of the third.

This win was big for a couple reasons, but none bigger than the fact that the Nets avoided going six games under .500 with a tough road-trip upcoming in Mexico City. It was also the largest margin of victory on the season.

It’s a “one-game at a time” mentality.

Early on, this game looked awfully familiar to Saturday’s loss. The Nets were getting torched by Dennis Schroder. The Nets stayed in the game by hitting 10 3-pointers in the first half, the most they’ve made in a first half all season. Still, they trailed by one at halftime.

Then, the Nets went into the locker room at half and came out looking like a different team.

They put together a 17-0 run in a five-minute stretch and notched their largest lead of the night at 16. The Hawks didn’t score their first points of the quarter until the 6:17 mark, and went without a field goal for seven minutes. It was easily Brooklyn’s best six-minute stretch of the season, featuring Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Tyler Zeller.

They outscored Atlanta 31-15 in the third quarter and led by 15 entering the fourth. Dennis Schroder was held to just two points in the quarter.

Closing it out... The Nets went up by 21 early in the fourth quarter, following two consecutive monstrous dunks from Jarrett Allen. He and Caris LeVert worked very well in the pick-and-roll as their length posed as a problem for Atlanta’s defenders.

The two helped jolt the Nets to a 29-point lead, their largest lead at any point this season. Before Saturday the biggest lead they had was 22.

Allen finished in double figures for a second straight game with 11 points and four blocked shots in 21 minutes. He also hit his first 3-pointer of his career. His pick-and-roll partner, Caris LeVert, finished with a season-high 17 points, a career-high tying seven assists and two steals. He was crucial in Brooklyn’s big run, manning the point and facilitating the offense. As Kenny Atkinson noted post-game, his performance was critical with Spencer Dinwiddie “running on fumes.”

It’s something to keep an eye on moving forward. Allen has looked most comfortable with LeVert in the pick-and-roll and you simply cannot teach length. Allen has a 7’6” wingspan, LeVert 7’0”.

The key: After scoring 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the first half, the Nets held Dennis Schroder to just two points on 1-of-7 in the second half, 9-of-17 overall. Things changed once they clamped down on the Hawks point who dropped 24 against the Nets on Saturday and had career averages of 19 and seven vs. the Nets.

The Nets hit 15 3-pointers on the night and dished out a season-high 30 assists. They even out-rebounded the undersized Hawks by 12.

Dinwiddie controlled the tempo yet again with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was back in the starting lineup and finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while DeMarre Carroll nailed three 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds.

Tyler Zeller grabbed a season-high nine rebounds and Joe Harris notched his seventh consecutive game in double figures with 11 points on three 3-pointers.

The Hawks dropped to 5-18 on the season after playing without three of their primary bigs: John Collins, Mike Muscala and Dewayne Dedmon.

THIS IS WHY THEY GOT HIM HERE (FT. JARRETT ALLEN)

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NETS BRACE FOR MEXICO CITY

The Nets will head south of the border to face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat in Mexico City on Thursday and Saturday. Both games will count as ‘home’ games for the Nets.

“First of all, what we’re trying to build here with the Nets is a diverse culture, whether it’s with our staff or our players,” Kenny Atkinson said in August when the trip became official. “To get out of our comfort zone, go to a different country, new culture, new people, it’s a growing experience. It’s going to help us improve as a team, as an organization. These opportunities don’t come along too often. We’re thrilled we have a chance to be part of this.”

The Nets played in London in 2011 and in China in 2014 and played a preseason game in Mexico City in 1999. Everybody is taking positives out of the situation, but it will not be an easy trip. The Nets are flying from Atlanta to Brooklyn to Mexico City. .

***

What was different tonight versus Saturday? “We took the fight to them,” Trevor Booker told Michael Grady after the game.

He summed it up in six words. And that’s when the Nets play their best ball: when they take the fight to other teams, rather than changing their style to adjust to the opposition. A good, much-needed bounce back effort.