So Close, And Then… Hawks 96, Nets 91 (GRADES)


Final: 04/22/2015

L 91 96

The Zombie Nets did it again, staggering around a lead for 48 minutes, keeping it competitive until the final seconds, and then falling face-first into the earth after a dagger to the brain steam.

This series — and this Nets team — has been far more competitive than the deficit or expectation would’ve had you believe. In Game 1, it was a combination of Joe Johnson’s late shots in the paint and Brook Lopez’s offensive rebounding. Wednesday night, it was Jarrett Jack hitting blackjack on 19, Lopez getting his inside shots to fall, and Johnson finally getting threes to fall. But the closing moments were all too predictable: an iso-Joe, a missed Deron Williams shot, a five-point loss, a glaring missed opportunity.

The only way this Nets team can compete in a series they’re wholly outmatched in is if they can keep it mildly competitive until the fourth quarter. They’ve done that in two games, and they’re down 2-0.

Brook Lopez


The stats: 20 PTS, 8-15 FG, 7 REB, 3 BLK

The Nets were able to get Lopez more involved after his noticeable absence in Sunday’s game, but a few forced post-ups weren’t always the best option. Took a few quick shots in those looks, perhaps fearful of a double-team.

There was one moment in the second half when Al Horford posted up, drove into the lane, and found Kent Bazemore with a slick bounce pass in the pocket for a layup. Those are the kind of looks that separate Lopez from Horford, and in some sense, the Nets from the Hawks.