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Nets and Hawks play an early game in Atlanta

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

It was fun while it lasted. The Brooklyn Nets went into DC on Friday hoping to push their winning streak to three games. It wasn’t meant to be as the Washington Wizards blew them out by 21 points. For what it’s worth, they’ve been having a good month so a one game beatdown is a bit easier to swallow.

The opponent today will be the Atlanta Hawks. While they’re still in line to make the playoffs, things have fallen apart in the ATL. Their losing streak is up to six after Friday’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks. The schedule to close out the month should help the Hawks get back on track before it’s too late. A loss to the Nets might provoke panic, however.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Early start time so tip off will be after 1.

Injuries

Joe Harris and Sean Kilpatrick are out again.

Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore are both out with a knee injuries.

The game

The Hawks won the first game in January and the second one at the beginning of March.

The point guard matchup should be fun. Dennis Schroder has done well in his first year as the starter for Mike Budenholzer. Schroder is most effective when he’s driving to the rim, where he can either finish at the rim or kick out to shooters on the perimeter. He outplayed Jeremy Lin on the 8th, so Jeremy will be looking for some payback. Due to the blowouts the past two games and the game missed thanks to an ankle injury, Lin hasn’t needed to play more than 20 minutes in a week. When Lin is out there, it makes life easier for all the other Nets. He’s due to get back to 30+ minutes a night soon so today will be a good stepping stone towards that goal.

Tim Hardaway Jr. has become a solid contributor in his second year on the team. He’s at career highs in field goal and three point percentage and works as a good third scoring option. Caris Levert will get a chance to match up with his fellow Wolverine. I have to think about this a little bit more, but a nice final stretch would boost Levert’s chances of being named to the All Rookie team. It would be a nice reward after overcoming the knee injury he suffered at Michigan and cost him the first month of this season.

Player to watch: Dwight Howard

As far as I can tell, people still can’t stand Dwight. After his ugly exit from Orlando, the Brooklyn trade that wasn’t, and disastrous stints with the Lakers and Rockets, Dwight came into this season at the lowest point in his career. However, he’s been having a pretty nice season. He’s fourth in the league in rebounding and is shooting a career best 63.2 percent from the field. He’s not the focal point of his team’s offense like he was in Orlando, but you can certainly live with what he’s bringing to the table these days. He did a wide ranging interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated and said the following:

It had nothing to do with the team. They said they were going to try to move me. I thought it was going to happen. They came in and said, ‘We’re going to trade you.’ They shook my hand and said, ‘God bless you. You were here for eight years and you did a great job.’ They asked me to go shake my teammates’ hands. I went and shook their hands and told them that the team was going to trade me. I woke up the next day and they said, ‘We’re not going to trade you.’

This was right after the [2011 NBA] lockout. I was supposed to get traded right before training camp. I had asked them to trade me to Brooklyn and I thought that was going to happen. They decided they weren’t going to trade me and that was when all hell broke loose. People said I was doing this in the locker room, doing that. But I’ve never been that kind of guy. I told my agent, ‘Listen, they want me here, so I will just stay here until the end of the season and I’ll make a decision after that. Let’s not fight it. Let’s not go back and forth. Let’s not talk about it.’

Sorry to bring back the bad memories, y’all. And this is very much the condensed version and very much from Howard’s perspective. Very much indeed.

Dwight will tangle with Brook Lopez on the inside. Although this is the third game in four days, Brook should be fresh for this afternoon’s tilt. His minutes have been in the low 20s the past two times out and he hasn’t had to work too hard in either contest. With Millsap out, the Hawks are a bit thin up front after Dwight. If Lopez can get Dwight in early foul trouble, he’ll be getting one of the better rim protectors out the paint.

From the Vault

UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has drawn comparisons to Jason Kidd, and with that in mind, let’s head on back to 1993 and watch the OG go to work against Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and the defending National Champion Duke Blue Devils.

More reading: Peachtree Hoops