Riding a four-game winning streak entering today’s action, many Brooklyn Nets fans were unsure how the team would perform with one their longest winning streaks in the last four years.
Judging by today’s final score, it’s safe to say the team played pretty well. Despite Atlanta’s record and position in the Eastern Conference standings, who could have believed the team would deliver this dominant of a performance? However, the game was a lot closer than the final score may indicate — in almost classic Nets fashion.
From the opening tip to the end of the first quarter, it was all Nets — a welcomed result for once. Brooklyn was hitting on all cylinders, connecting on seven of their 14 three-pointers and even knocking down 16 of their 26 total field goal attempts.
Not only was the Nets’ first quarter shooting and dominance impressive, it was also historic. The team’s opening 42-point outburst was the largest first frame score since the franchise’s move to Brooklyn in 2012. Everything was clicking for the Nets in the first but, naturally, the team began to play a bit sluggish in the early stages of the second quarter. This sluggish start to the second period saw the Nets’ once-21 point lead cut down to just ten. Gulp — here we go again, right?
The Nets fought back every time the Hawks went on a run and maintained a lead for the rest of the first quarter, even after they let Atlanta cut the lead down to as low as two and were outscored by 13 points in the second quarter.
This was also the story for most of the second half. Atlanta would continue to fight back and kept trying to make it a close game down the stretch, but the struggling Hawks side would never cut it down to less than six points after halftime. After every big-time run from the Nets, Atlanta would keep admirably battling back — but it wasn’t until the final three minutes of the third quarter in which the Nets finally blew the doors off.
The Nets may have held on for a 17 point lead to end the game but only outscored the Hawks by two points in the final quarter of play.
Either way, now is it not the time to harp on the few negatives! After showing their muscle in the third quarter, the team never looked back and have now won five straight games. Even against the Hawks during a Sunday matinee, that’s worth celebrating indeed.
The stats: 30 PTS, 13-19 FG, 5-9 3PT, 6 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 0 TO, 29 MIN
This season, the key for D’Angelo Russell’s success has been for him to get going early on in the game and tonight was no different.
After two games in which head coach Kenny Atkinson sat Russell in the final stretch the of game, Russell really made it a point to be aggressive with the ball early in the first.
Russell had shot 5-for-8 from the field in the first and scored 10 points to go along with that impressive shooting.
This red-hot first quarter shooting not only propelled him to a huge 30-point outing, but it also would continue for the rest of the game as he only missed three shots in the remaining three quarters of play.
When Russell plays like he does tonight, the only reason Atkinson can pull him out of the game is because the team had gained such a large lead.
With Spencer Dinwiddie having signed his well-deserved extension, one can only wonder if Russell was also eager to perform at a high level. If that’s the case, the wins and game-changing performances may continue to pile up for Russell and the Nets.
The stats: 15 PTS, 3-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 8-8 FT, 3 REB, 5 AST, 24 MIN
Spencer Dinwiddie might not have been dropping in shots from five feet beyond the three-point line like he did against Washington and Philadelphia, but he still turned in a really solid performance nevertheless.
Dinwiddie struggled from the field, only hitting 3 of his 8 shot attempts, however, he did a phenomenal job of getting the Hawks in foul trouble and marching to free throw line where he was a perfect 8-for-8.
Tonight will go down as one of Dinwiddie’s most disappointing performances of the season — but with the statistical line he put out tonight, that says more about how impressive he has been this season and less about what he did against the Hawks.
The stats: 11 PTS, 5-6 FG, 4 REB, 2 BLK, 14 MIN
Jarrett Allen has had many quietly impressive and efficient performances over the Nets’ recent winning streak — and aside from his early foul troubles, tonight was no different.
Allen shot exceptionally well from the field but missed an extended period of time from the floor after quickly racking up fouls in the first half.
In the 14 minutes of action he saw, however, he was nearly perfect from the field and protected the rim exceptionally well, as he always does.
Ultimately, this may not have been one of Allen’s highlight performances of this season, but it also wasn’t a bad outing for ‘The Fro’ either.
The stats: 16 PTS, 4-7 FG, 3-6 3FG, 6 AST, 1 STL, 25 MIN
Joey Buckets was scorching-hot in the first quarter and a big reason for the Nets’ early 21 point lead. His three early triples not only helped the Nets build a big lead but also paced the team’s record-breaking performance in the first quarter.
While Harris didn’t make any shots from beyond the arc after his three in the first 12 minutes, he still played great the rest of the way. Instead, Harris did a great job distributing the ball as well, dishing out six assists on the night.
Harris has proven time and time again that he’s one of the most consistent players on this Nets roster — of course, tonight was no different.
The stats: 18 PTS, 6-10 FG, 4 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 22 MIN
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson immediately struggled after returning from an offseason ankle injury. However, during the Nets’ recent win streak, RHJ has really returned to form and now looks again like the player we saw blossom last season
Not only did Hollis-Jefferson have one of his best performances of the season shooting the ball, but he also put out one of his best all-around performances in general.
If RHJ plays this well on a consistent basis, it will be tough for the Nets to part ways with him during his trip to restricted free agency this summer. With much up in the air about where the stretchy forward will play in 2019 and beyond, more efforts like this will make that decision much, much easier.
The stats: 16 PTS, 5-9 FG, 3-7 3FG, 3 STL, 25 MIN
Last week before the Nets’ played the best team in the league, the Toronto Raptors, Jared Dudley held a players-only film session. Since that film session, the Nets have won five-straight games.
Many Nets have put up huge performances over the last week but tonight was Dudley’s turn to join in on the fun. By the final buzzer, Dudley had turned in what was arguably his best performance in a Nets uniform.
Not only was Dudley knocking down shots from all over the floor, but he was also extremely impressive on the defensive end as well.
The only negative for Dudley was the five fouls that he racked up tonight — but other than that, the veteran was a huge x-factor against the Hawks. If he can do half of what he did tonight on a consistent basis, he’ll give the Nets a good chance to continue their playoff run into the later months.