The Brooklyn Nets (0-4) continued their early season funk on Monday, losing to Milwaukee at home 103-96. Despite holding a 96-94 lead with a little over two minutes to play, the Nets succumbed to Milwaukee’s sharp shooting, led by a 26-point, 6 three-pointer effort by Jerryd Bayless.
With nine of their next 12 games coming on the road, the Nets are in desperate need of their first win.
Tonight, the team visits the Atlanta Hawks (4-1), fresh off a 98-92 win in Miami over the Heat Tuesday night. Jeff Teague led the way with 26 points and nine assists to send the Hawks to their fourth straight victory. Teague has taken on a larger scoring role early this season, perhaps to lessen the load on an offense that lost DeMarre Carroll to Toronto in the offseason. Teague gave the Nets defense fits in the playoffs last season, including a 20-point, eight-assist performance in the pivotal Game 5 of last year’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer returns most of last year’s 60-win team that defeated the Nets in 6 playoff games. Outside of the aforementioned Carroll, the returning starters of Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford will try to improve on a terrific and somewhat surprising campaign that brought them all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
As for the Nets, they will try to build on the improved offensive performance they displayed on Monday night. Shane Larkin, who tallied 10 points (5-for-5 from the field) and three assists, was encouraged with what he saw.
“Just sharing the ball, making extra passes, playing with a lot of energy and defensively getting stops,” Larkin said. “All those things kind of tied into the offense being better tonight.”
Jarrett Jack, guilty of some erratic play down the stretch on Monday, is expected to play tonight despite re-aggravating his hamstring in practice on Tuesday.
Thabo Sefolosha missed last night’s game recovering from a fibula injury and is not expected to play tonight.
What to watch for: The Awakening of The Human Torch. After shooting an absurd 49.2 percent from behind the arc last season, guard Kyle Korver has netted only 5-of-20 threes in his first five games this season. In the four regular season wins against the Nets last season, Korver averaged only 10.8 points, yet shot 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) from three. Korver also torched the Nets from three in Games 5 and 6 of the playoffs, scoring a combined 37 points including 11-for-22 from three point land. UPDATE: Never mind: Korver will not play tonight.
Tip-off is at 8:00 PM EDT from Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA.