The playoffs are often where bench units go to pasture. As teams tighten up and seasons hang in the balance, coaches often stretch the minutes of their starters, abandoning their eighth and ninth men. But one or two bench players always make a significant impact, and in 1-8 matchup, the Hawks might look to use their depth to their advantage.
Alan Anderson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jarrett Jack make up an alliterative Brooklyn’s Backup Backcourt, with Mason Plumlee and Cory Jefferson getting minutes at the bigs. Hollins has trusted Plumlee with power forward minutes despite the struggles of the Lopez-Plumlee combo this season, and he’ll probably earn those minutes over the rookie Jefferson. Jack is a wild card; with Anderson expected to return, Jack could see fewer minutes next to Deron Williams at shooting guard in what’s been a failed pairing, and fewer minutes overall.
Bogdanovic has played starter’s minutes as he’s caught fire in recent weeks, culminating in a career-high 28 points in their near-elimination game against the Orlando Magic. His three-point shooting should be essential in a series like this if the Nets hope to make any noise. Ditto for Anderson, a veteran’s minimum 3-and-D guy who is best spacing the floor.
The Hawks are without their best perimeter defender in Thabo Sefolosha, who suffered a broken leg following an altercation with the NYPD. But they’ve still got a formidable bench, led by sparkplug point guard Dennis Schröder, guard Kent Bazemore, swing forward Mike Scott, and bruising center Pero Antic. Their depth is one of their strengths, and they’ll likely look to take full advantage.