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Kenny Atkinson returns to Atlanta with the Nets

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Didn’t see that coming. The Brooklyn Nets were riding a two -game losing streak when they went into Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Monday night. Thanks to a great fourth quarter, Brooklyn was able to pull off the upset and come away with a 122-109 win. One more game to go on the circus trip after tonight.

The opponent tonight is the Atlanta Hawks. Although the Hawks are fifth in the Conference and have an outside shot of winning the Southeast Division, they’ve been having some trouble recently. They’ve lost three straight games (all at home) and seven out of their last ten. The latest defeat came on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors. They wrap up their homestand Friday against Toronto.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV.

Injuries

Joe Harris is out with a concussion and back home in New York (watching his Virginia Cavaliers at Barclays Center).

Mike Dunleavy is out due to right ankle synovitis.

The game

The Hawks won the first game in January.

Kenny Atkinson will be returning to Atlanta for the first time since becoming the head coach of the Nets. He spent four years in the ATL and had a lot of great memories there. he Nets play hard every night, but I’m sure they’ll go a little extra harder tonight.

I was digging around the archives and noticed something. Around this time five years ago, the Nets were deep into their pursuit of Dwight Howard. As we all know, the deal never happened as Howard got cold feet and stood the Nets up. He’s bounced around since then and has settled in nicely in Atlanta. He’s still not a reliable post scorer, but he’s been a monster on the offensive glass and thanks to that, he’s shooting a career high 63.9 percent from the field. Howard is averaging a career low minutes, but that’s OK for a player that’s been banged up over the past five years. Depending on the matchup the Hawks have in the playoffs, he might play a bit more. Brook Lopez will be matched up with Howard and that should be a fun battle. Lopez will look to draw Dwight away from the rim and that in turn should open things up for other Nets who are looking to drive to the basket.

We’re going to be treated to a nice matchup at the guard position. Tim Hardaway Jr has had a nice season and is shooting a career best 45.2 percent from the field. Caris Levert has continued to play well and had his best game from three point range in about a month on Monday night. Levert made two threes against Memphis after making two over his previous six games. If Levert is able to successfully incorporate the three pointer into his arsenal (he’s currently shooting 29 percent), he’ll become even more valuable to the Nets going forward.

Player to watch: Dennis Schroder

We’ve all been there. Your coworker messes up and you have to stop what you’re doing in order to yell at them. Unfortunately for Schroder, it happened at the worst possible time...

We didn’t see Dennis the rest of the night after that. It’s a shame too since Schroder finished with a team high 23 points and was in line for even more. The team is hoping to move on, and we’ll see how they handle things from here.

We’re all about birthdays today here at Netsdaily. Isaiah Whitehead turns 21 and will see a lot of Schroder. Jeremy Lin played 23 minutes as he is working his way back to full strength. It’ll be up to them to keep Schroder on the perimeter. Schroder is third in the league in drives, averaging 12 a night. His penetration opens things up for shooters like Ersan Ilyasova and Paul Millsap.

From the Vault

Let’s watch the Hawks retire Pistol Pete Maravich’s jersey.

More reading: Peachtree Hoops