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Nets try to bounce back in Atlanta vs. the Hawks

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

That wasn’t an enjoyable scene. The Brooklyn Nets showed up to work on Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, but they didn’t put up a fight and got walloped by 44 points.

The Atlanta Hawks find themselves in a position where they need to fight to get out of the play-in bracket. They are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference after they steamrolled the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. There’s been a lot going on with the Hawks, and we’ll get to it in a few.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Day party so we getting started after 3 PM.


Ben Simmons is out with left knee soreness. He will be re-evaluated in a week.

John Collins had been in concussion protocol, but he’s out of that. He’s questionable with low back tightness.

The game

Brooklyn took game one in early December and game two in late December. These teams wrap up the regular season series in late March.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Hawks fired head coach, Nate McMillan. McMillan coached the team for 2.5 seasons, finished with a 99-80 record and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. Hawks management is on the hunt for a new coach, and have zeroed in on former Utah Jazz coach, Quin Snyder. We’ll see how that situation develops. In the meantime, Joe Prunty, Jason Kidd’s former assistant, is the interim.

So, the good thing about the NBA is you can bounce back from an embarrassing loss pretty quickly. As an example, when the Nets gave up 153 points to the Sacramento Kings earlier this season, they came back with one of their better wins of the season against the Portland Trailblazers their next time out. The key for everyone is to throw Friday’s game in the junk and don’t let it linger.

That will start with a much better effort on the glass. Chicago won the rebounding matchup by 26, and that helped doom Brooklyn. On the few occasions they did get stops, the Bulls still took advantage as they grabbed 12 offensive rebounds. Nic Claxton will have his hands full dealing with the Atlanta duo of Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu. OO filled in admirably while Capela was out, but has returned to his regular role on the bench. Capela has been great for the team over the years and he will try to deter the Nets when they drive to the basket.

The Nets need shot creation, so the coaching staff will have to figure out ways to keep one of Spencer Dinwiddie or Cam Thomas on the court at all times. Those two are the best on the roster at getting their own shot and getting downhill, two things the Nets have needed all season long. The coaching staff has emphasized taking more three pointers, but the best offenses are able to make things shake from all areas of the court.

Player to watch: Trae Young

When you’re the franchise player, we come knocking on your door when the head coach gets fired. Just ask Kevin Durant. This is the unenviable position Young finds himself in after he and Nate McMillan reportedly had disagreements between one another. With McMillan, all eyes turn to Young and he is expected to step up and play a lot better. He’s averaging a touch under 27 points a game, which is good for 11th in the NBA. However, his shooting percentages are down across the board and are the worst since his rookie season. As it happens, he’s getting to the rim at the lowest rate of his career and his percentage of shots inside of three feet has decreased each year he’s been in the NBA. Atlanta has a lot of work to do if they want to get

After a bad loss, the best player usually sets the tempo the next time out. That job will fall to Mikal Bridges this afternoon. He struggled on Friday night as he went 4-10 from the field. The Hawks will throw a variety of defenders at him, including the newly acquired Saadiq Bey. For Bridges, the Nets will turn to him to right the ship. He’s welcomed the responsibility of being the first option on this team.

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