Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn Nets: Game 2 Preview (video)


Key to Victory in Game One

Game one saw the Hawks come roaring out the gate which is what ultimately got the job done for Mike Budenholzer and his troops. The Hawks moved to 52-4 overall with a lead going into the 4th quarter. Atlanta should continue to look to execute with a strong start the rest of the way. Game one highlights below:

Game 1: Takeaways & Question Marks

  • Paul Millsap isn’t yet back to full strength after missing the final five games of regular season.
  • Al Hoford’s injury leaves a question mark about what his production will look like and what his availability will be for game two. He should be considered “day-to-day”
  • Containing Brook Lopez and making the necessary defensive adjustments in the paint
  • Atlanta moves to 30-0 at home when leading going into the 4th quarter this season.
  • Hawks look to take a “next man up” approach with Thabo Sefolosha, who’s defensive presence will be missed as he is out for the remainder of the playoffs
  • Dennis Schröder’s contribution off the bench will be an important part of the teams playoff run.

Tale of the Tape by the Numbers

  1. Total Rebounds: Brooklyn 49 – Atlanta 39
  2. Offensive Rebounds: Brooklyn 12 – Atlanta 6
  3. Turnovers: Atlanta 14 – Brooklyn 17
  4. Points in the Paint: Brooklyn 54 – Atlanta 42
  5. Team Assists: Atlanta 19 – Brooklyn 18
  6. Fast Break Points: Atlanta 15 – Brooklyn 4
  7. Points in the Paint: Brooklyn 54 – Atlanta 42

Key Match-Ups to Watch for in this Series

Al Horford vs Brook Lopez: Whether or not Al Horford plays and if his dislocated right finger will be a factor in Wednesdays game, remains to be seen. Lopez led the charge in the paint and helped control the glass on both ends. Big Al is giving up a few inches and 25 pounds to the much bigger Brook Lopez. Horford has his work cut out for him in this series and will need help along the way.

DeMarre Carroll vs Joe Johnson: Johnson went 0-for-6 from the three point line, but did chip in 17 points and seven assists. The Nets shooting guard isn’t known for his speed but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Atlanta knows what to expect from Joe Johnson and exactly what he’s going to bring to the table. Carroll is one of the best wing defenders in basketball and should do well with this match-up. DeMarre’s smothering defensive style and relentless pressure is exactly what is needed to check Joe Johnson.

Pre-Game Analysis: What Worked Against the Nets in Game one and Where this Offense is Strongest

Utilizing Korver as a triple threat: Hawks sharp shooter Kyle Korver showed today why his value stretches far beyond that of just being a spot up three point shooter. Korver used a variety of moves to obtain space and or make solid basketball plays.

For example, late in the 4th quarter he took one hard dribble before shooting. This created space between him and the defender. These are the small things that make him so deadly. Korver also came off the 3pt line to make a back door cut, finishing an easy lay-up. The 34 year old vet will need to continue to show off his versatility all through this series and beyond.

Strong play from the point guard spot: Both Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder provided much needed fire power from the back court in game one. The two crafty guards combined for 30 total points. What makes these two players so effective is both of their abilities to work off both the pick & pop, as well as the pick & roll. Teague is really good at getting to the rack.

Another weapon they should continue to use is what is known as the “dribble over, pass back”. This occurs when the player dribbling the ball sucks the defense to the top of the painted area as they move towards the basket. Then kick it out to an open player on the three point line. Teague will continue to be the floor general for this team. Teague is grossly underrated and the perfect starting point guard for Atlanta’s system.

No agenda Basketball: The Hawks Thrive off sharing the rock. Atlanta was second in the NBA during the regular season, averaging 25.7 assists per game. Game one of this series saw the Hawks tally 19 total team assists. Atlanta got the job done, but this is sure to improve going forward. Ball rotation should continue to be at the forefront of the teams game plan.

Atlanta also found success in moving the ball on the break. This provided them with an advantage in transition offense, an area where they outscored the Nets. The Hawks needs to definitely control the flow and tempo of game two. This will not allow the Nets to play in the half-court set where they are strongest and most comfortable.

Pre-Game Analysis: The Defensive Adjustments, how to contain Brooklyn’s Weapons, and Controlling the Painted Area

Brooklyn’s Weapons: The Hawks swept the Nets four games to none in the two teams regular season series. However, this is a brand new series with a brand new set of challenges. Deron Williams who doesn’t like driving to the left side of the basket, only attempted 31 shots all year from that side. He made only a mere 35 percent of those total shots. The defense needs to cut him off from the right lane, forcing him to go left.

Lopez on the other hand, hit on 67 percent of his field goal attempts from the left block during the regular season. The seven footer also possesses a mid-range game, but took 60 percent of his total accumulated shots from the painted area. The Hawks need both their starting big men at full strength to help neutralize Lopez’s offensive strengths.

DeMarre Carroll is a superb wing defender and is will be heavily relied upon to guard former all-star shooting guard Joe Johnson. The Hawks should look to force the Nets into taking as many contested two’s as possible.

Controlling the painted area: It’s a tough assignment for anyone when you are dealing with the 7’0″ 275 pound Brook Lopez. However, this is likely the key to victory for the Hawks. Game one saw the Nets outplay the Hawks in the paint and Lopez give his team an advantage on both ends of the glass.

Clearing out the paint and providing weak side help defensively, is going to be pivotal in taking Lopez out of his element. The Hawks will need to squeeze everything they can out of Hoford, Millsap, and the rest of Atlanta’s big men. The paint is going to be the Hawks biggest challenge in not only game two, but the entire series.

Next: Atlanta Hawks injury hell

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