Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Philips Arena
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO
Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM
The Brooklyn Nets face the Atlanta Hawks Monday night for the second match of the home-and-home, this time in Atlanta, after losing 114-102 at Barclays Center on Saturday.
Given the winnable nature of the game and the fact that the Nets shot 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, Saturday was a tough loss. The Nets spent the last three quarters trailing, and while they cut the Hawks’ lead down many times, once to as little as two points, they never got over the hump and wrestled the game back on their terms.
The Brooklyn Nets have been hurting recently, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe both returned on Saturday, so the Nets look to enter this game with a fully-healthy roster outside the known two long-term omissions of D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin.
While the Nets were playing the high-tempo pace that fans are used to, the underpinning of unsatisfactory defense showed that there are flaws opposing teams can exploit, even if the team is shooting well. The back and forth pace with three-point shooting at times seemed reminiscent of an All-Star game.
The Nets took 82 shots for the game, 42 of these being three-point attempts. While this is now an accepted identity for the Nets, there was almost a feeling of reliance on the team just shooting their way into a lead. They were not able to do this mostly given that the Nets gave the Hawks a large number of second-chance opportunities, as Atlanta finished the game with an extra 17 field goal attempts. Despite shooting a better percentage in the last quarter, the Nets never had the game under their wing.
Three things to watch for
Team defense has been an on-going issue. Against Atlanta on Saturday, the poor defense again reared its ugly head as the Nets forced just eight turnovers while committing 19 themselves. Luckily for the Nets, they were only outscored by five points on turnovers.
Also, the entire Nets roster combined for a solitary steal (thanks to Caris LeVert) while the Hawks swiped the ball 12 times. Moving into Monday’s game, these numbers need to be a lot closer for the Nets to get the win.
As mentioned above, the Hawks managed 17 more field goal attempts than the Nets on Saturday. While this was due more to turnovers rather than offensive rebounding, Brooklyn struggled to get any real penetration inside or easy looks.
Taking out Tyler Zeller and Jarrett Allen, the team added a measly 18 points from two-point field goal attempts. The team may deliberately avoid mid-range looks, but Saturday neither Trevor Booker nor Caris LeVert were able to score in the lane.
These are shot attempts that the team actively wants to see, with Booker causing havoc down low and LeVert slicing to the basket. They are the intangibles that should happen when the team is performing well, a by-product of terrific outside shooting. It sometimes comes down to grit, which is something the team has hung its hat on this season and needs more of for Monday’s matchup.
The Nets rookie quietly had a career-high 12 points on 4-6 shooting while playing 17 minutes against the Hawks on Saturday. With the absence of Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins from the Atlanta front court, Allen may again get an opportunity to contribute. This may especially be so given the lack of inside scoring from the previous game, as coach Kenny Atkinson possibly prepares to make an adjustment.
Look for the team to get Trevor Booker involved early, but depending on how the game is panning out Allen will have a chance to possibly build on that recently made career-high.