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Nets erase 19-point deficit to defeat Atlanta, 116-100

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — After defeating Chicago on Sunday, Kenny Atkinson echoed something the players and coaching staff have been saying often: One game at a time.

Despite a first half in which the Nets trailed by 19, they climbed their way back in the second half and defeated the Atlanta Hawks (12-29), 116-100, Wednesday night at Barclays Center. They looked lethargic to start even though it was Atlanta who was playing the second night of a back-to-back, not the Nets.

No matter, though. They won their third game in the last four, eight of last night at home and 13 of 17, improving to 21-22, standing as the sole leaders of the six seed.

The Nets made their run late in the second (17-5) and it trickled quickly into the third. They started the second half on a 17-6 extended run and regained the lead, eventually out-scoring Atlanta 35-23 in the quarter with a six-point lead entering the fourth.

Then, they put Atlanta out. D’Angelo Russell hit a mid-range jump shot to cap off a 14-1 run and the Nets went up 17. What was once an 19-point deficit turned into a blowout for Brooklyn.

Russell finished the night with 23 points 26 minutes. Six other players finished in double figures, including Spencer Dinwiddie (16 points), DeMarre Carroll (17 points), Joe Harris (16 points), Rodions Kurucs (11 points) and Jarrett Allen (11 points).

Ed Davis was a monster on the glass with a season-high 16 rebounds in 23 minutes. It was also the most rebounds off the bench since 2000. Allen spoke post-game about how he’s learned from the NBA’s leading rebounder by percentage...

For Atlanta, John Collins was the team’s leader with 30 points and 14 rebounds, which Kenny Atkinson admitted blew him away.

PLAYOFFS!

The Nets entered Wednesday night’s game sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Both Miami and Charlotte lost on Tuesday, which helped them move up.

Here are the games to watch: Wizards-76ers, Magic-Jazz, Pistons-Lakers.

RODI ... TAKES DIRECTION WELL.

After Rodions Kurucs scored 24 points, tying his season high, vs. Boston Monday, Kenny Atkinson was a bit disappointed. Not with his scoring, but his lack of defense and energy.

“One rebound [Monday], no steals; that’s got to be his role,” Atkinson said. “I’m thrilled he made those 3s, I’m thrilled he was good offensively; but his role on this team has to be [a] rebounding and energy guy, defending. But good offensive game.”

The 20-year-old Kurucs admitted he needed to do better.

“I understand that I have to go for the rebound sometimes and help them out,” Kurucs said. “I’ll just try to do that next game.”

How’d he do vs. Atlanta. Atkinson smiled and said he’d give the 20-year-old a B+. Kurucs finished with 11 points, four assists, a block and a steal in 29 minutes, racking up a +22 rating, the team and game high.

He spoke after the game about his adjustments...

Before the game, Kurucs told Michael Grady that he was grateful for his opportunity because it gave his a chance to show his doubters how wrong they were about his prospects.

JARED DUDLEY TO JOIN WALKING WOUNDED?

Jared Dudley left the game midway through the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. He did not return. As he drove to the rim, his left leg appeared to buckle and he grabbed his left thigh in pain. The Nets are already without Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Nets do not provide injury timetables, although Musa said earlier in the week that he expected to be back soon.

Kenny Atkinson had no update after the game, but Dudley tweeted that he would undergo an MRI exam Thursday.

“Obviously Jared is probably our most vocal guy in terms of a veteran leader,” Joe Harris said. “He really is the voice, the coach on the floor. Although you don’t see it in the stat sheet every night, he’s capable of having big games, but he does a lot more for us. Hopefully he can get back soon because he is a very integral part of this team.”

VINCE CARTER’S LAST RODEO AT THE NETS?

Vince Carter spent five seasons with the New Jersey Nets playing at the Meadowlands. He never played at Barclays, but anytime he plays against his old team it’s special. He’s third all-time for points scored in a Nets’ uniform, while making three all star teams and three playoff appearances.

The ovation:

The video tribute:

His dunks were electric and his circus shots mind-boggling. He was so much fun to watch and yes, he is one of the greatest players to ever wear the jersey. It’s still unknown whether they will retire his number or not and it shouldn’t even be a question.

Just saying.

Carter finished with three points, a corner three. Gary Sussman would be proud.

STEPHEN A. SMITH: PUT SOME RESPECT ON BROOKLYN’S NAME

We can safely say the Brooklyn Nets don’t get nearly enough respect, despite becoming one of the NBA’s best stories this year. Everybody is so quick to talk about the tanking Knicks, but the real basketball is being played across the river.

Stephen A. Smith showed the Nets a lot of love on First Take around the 5:09 mark to be precise. Give it a listen.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective, head on over to Peachtree Hoops, our sister Hawks site on SB Nation.

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NEXT: The Nets will face the Toronto Raptors in Toronto on Friday at 7:30 PM.