Nets look to win two straight at home

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger) by Justis Doucet Resolution: Keep firing three-pointers, but use your length on the defensive boards to limit second-chance points The NBA has turned into a shooter's league and that’s no exception for traditional NBA big men. This year, Brook Lopez has extended his range outside the arc, connecting on 37% of his three-pointers this season -- but it's a completely new unearthed skill for the center. Looking back on his career numbers, this adaptation to his game has come out of the blue entirely. Prior to this season, Lopez had shot 31 deep bombs as a career-total; but through 28 games this season alone, he’s hit 57 of 153. So, yeah, that's a game-changer for the once-nearly-extinct big man. To this point, Lopez has often been the difference between a five point loss and a twenty point loss this season for the Nets, which is kind of what we expected. Lopez’s shooting has drastically improved his game too, as he’s able to drag opposing centers out of the paint, which opens it up for either Trevor Booker's insane offensive rebounds or for guards driving to the basket as the opposing shot rim protector must guard Lopez in the corner. Although Atkinson and Lopez have made the decision for the big man not to really play in back-to-backs, this has obviously hurt the Nets in the win column, but with an eye of long-term health, it's tough to get too upset about that. Lopez is nearing career-highs in most categories, and his scoring average of 20.5 a game is two-tenths off his career-best. In addition, he has quadrupled his assist numbers over the last two years (0.7 per game to just a hair under 3), a remarkable improvement for a veteran at the center position. With Lopez now scoring from outside, his inside numbers have improved as defenders must cover more space on the floor, seeing as, on top of the 37% three-point percentage, he’s shooting 53% from two-point range -- the third highest mark of his nine-year career. One thing that Lopez could hope to improve on for the 2017 calendar year is rebounding. You've likely read two trillion (guesstimate) articles about Lopez's poor rebounding numbers and while he's always surrounded by strong players in that category (Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries, Trevor Booker, etc), he could stand to help out a bit more there. Of course, as he finds himself out by the three-point line more and more, those numbers aren't likely to rise -- but, hey, Lopez can't do it all by himself, so he mostly gets a pass there.

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Opponent: Atlanta Hawks
Time: 06:00 PM EST
Location: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO
Listen: 660 AM, 101.9 FM

The Brooklyn Nets had their most successful month of the season in March, going 7-10 and kicked off April with a win over the Orlando Magic, 121-111. The Nets will play the Atlanta Hawks Sunday in the first back-to-back game set at Barclays Center since 2012.

Last Sunday, the Nets topped the Hawks in Atlanta,107-92, behind Brook Lopez’s 23 points. Last night against Orlando, the Nets had birthday magic (pun intended) on their side as Lopez turned 29 years old and Justin Hamilton turned 27. Lopez dropped 30 points while grabbing seven rebounds and Hamilton had a nice stat line with 13 points and five rebounds. The biggest contributor, however, was Trevor Booker who shot 11 of 12 for 23 points and had eight rebounds for extra possessions.

The Hawks are coming off a close to the hosting Chicago Bulls, 106-104. Point guard Dennis Schroder scored 29 points in the loss and Dwight Howard posted another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Nets have stated that they have no intention on shutting down any of their starters and therefore will look to continue their strong end of the year with a win over the Hawks.

3 Things to Watch in Nets-Hawks

  • Trevor Booker

 Despite being a solid contributor to the Nets starting lineup all season long, Booker has spent much of March coming off the bench with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson moving to the starting lineup and even had a few DNP’s. On Saturday against the Magic, Booker showed just how valuable of a high energy bench player he could be, diving for loose balls tipping and grabbing rebound for second-chance opportunities. Booker is always a valuable asset and can be poised for an encore performance.

  • Jeremy Lin

 Unlike Booker, Lin struggled getting his shots to fall as he shot three of 14 with just eight points. In the last meeting against Atlanta, Lin scored 19 points and if he can play that well again the Nets can defeat the Hawks for the second time in a week.

 

  • Dwight Howard

 Last Sunday Dwight Howard was his usual monster self and scored 19 points while grabbing 16 rebounds. It’s a tough matchup for Lopez who needs to try and limit him as much as he can.