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NBA Live Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 PM EST

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

They’re all important, but Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks is pretty, pretty, pretty big one.

Both the Nets and Hawks are tied at 40-37, and both are desperately trying to fight their way into the 6th seed in the East. Although that dream has all but died; still they both want to wind up in the 7 vs. 8 game so they’ll have a chance at a “win and you’re in” scenario in the play-ins.

Brooklyn will be without Goran Dragic and Bruce Brown, which...stinks.

Atlanta is on a 4-game win streak. The Nets really, really need to win this one.

WHO: Brooklyn Nets (40-37) at Atlanta Hawks (40-37)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. est

WHERE: NBA TV (national), YES (local), WFAN-FM (radio)

Game preview.

In a good bit of schedule luck, this is the last game outside of New York City the Nets will play until the play-in / playoffs. Being able to rest up at home and avoid travel in the last week of the season could come in handy for this team.

The turnover battle will be critical. The Hawks have coughed it up only 11 percent of the time post All Star break, lowest mark in the league. Conversely, the Nets have turned it over 14.5 percent of the time, fifth highest in the NBA post All Star. To Brooklyn’s credit, they’ve been forcing their fair share of turnovers (fifth best opposing turnover rate since the break). Make no mistake, we are in playoff level situations from here on out, and the Nets have to have to have to make the most out of every possession possible.

The battle of the bigs will be crucial. For Atlanta, Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu man the middle for them. Okongwu in particular has made the most out of his playing time and gives the Hawks solid rim protection and rebounding. Capela has been a solid rim running big since he came over from the Houston Rockets in 2020 and hopes to improve on his play tonight as compared to the previous matchups. For the Nets, we’ll see how they utilize Nic Claxton and Andre Drummond. Assuming the Hawks force a lot of switches, Clax might wind up seeing the lion’s share of important minutes if the game is close late.

For more on the Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops.