Boy did the Nets need this one. After dropping three straight games, the Nets marched into Atlanta looking to come away with a win to spark some momentum. You could tell that the Nets thrived on that back against the wall mentality. They jumped out to an 8-2 start, trying to establish a big lead they can sustain for the rest of the way. The Atlanta Hawks had other plans, they closed the game on a 10-3 run and tied the game heading into the second. Dennis Schroder started to get it going and the Nets knew that they were in for yet another battle.
The second quarter was more of the same. The Nets would hit a couple of threes and look like they were just about to create a gap, but the Hawks would respond with a run and stay within striking distance. Brooklyn was up 40-32 at one point in the quarter but the pesky Hawks fought back and stayed within three going into the half.
In the third, you guessed it, more of the same. The Nets started firing on all cylinders to open up the quarter and opened up an 11 point lead early in the third, but the Nets actually lost their lead and found themselves down against the team with the worst record in the NBA. Brooklyn played the role of pesky tied the game up going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Jahlil Okafor played exactly the way Sean Marks envisioned when he made the deal for him in early December. He got his shots up quick and within the offense, and proved to be our driving force on that side of the ball. The Nets found themselves with a four-point lead and looked like this would finally be the time when the Nets would cruise to an easy victory. Those Hawks though. Dennis Schroder took over and took a four-point lead of their own. Jahlil Okafor was subbed out and the cat and mouse game continued. Okafor exited with 17 points, possibly his most impressive performance as a Net so far.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 13, 2018
The Hawks and Nets fought back and forth but at around the three-minute mark, the Hawks looked like they had the advantage. They hit some threes and saw themselves up by five with the Hawks fans riling them up, but if this game taught us anything, nothing is guaranteed. DeMarre Carroll hit a huge three to get the Nets right back in it. Rondae hit some shots and Spencer Dinwiddie set him up and made some great plays.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 13, 2018
Then, in the dying moments of the game, Spencer Dinwiddie was put in yet another situation where he was the guy to close it out. He drove the lane, got whacked, and simultaneously heard two of the greatest sounds of his life. One is the shot going through the basket, and two being the sound of that elusive whistle he so desperately needed to hear. He got to the line and missed his free throw, but the Hawks were not getting in the way of Spence blowing this game. The ball jumped right back into his hands for a game-closing rebound. The Nets don’t make it easy, but any win is a huge bolster to this young squad.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
20 PTS, 6-15 FG, 9 REB, 10 ASTS
Spencer Dinwiddie was…Spensational tonight. After a shaky first three quarters, Dinwiddie was the hero once again in the fourth. He made several key baskets, scoring the Nets’ go-ahead and game-sealing free throws on a bang bang blocking foul call. The point guard had a near triple-double. He’s been a leader and the Nets’ go-to.
DeMarre Carroll Small Forward
13 PTS, 5-9 FG, 4 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL
In his return to the place where he first made a splash, DeMarre balled out. Returning after a knee injury scare against Toronto, Carroll was there when the Nets needed him. He sank a huge triple in the fourth to give the Nets the momentum to win the game.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Small Forward
14 PTS, 6-14 FG, 6 REB
RHJ was big in big moments. Ater struggling in the second and third quarters, he came alive in the fourth. Showing great chemistry with Spencer Dinwiddie, he had two back-to-back dunks to keep the Nets in the game. He was a catalyst in this game.