Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. Nets Pre Game Report


The Atlanta Hawks return home licking their proverbial wounds to face the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday after dropping both games of their mini road trip in Charlotte and Milwaukee.

The Hawks were riding high after arguably their most impressive win of the season last Saturday against the Bulls.  But oh how quickly things can change in the NBA.  Since that win, the Hawks have dropped games against the Hornets and Bucks, two teams on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.  Two teams that the Hawks should take care of, even on the road.  Two teams that were both dealing with injuries to key players.  A week like this has been the epitome of the Hawks season thus far as they can’t seem to find any consistency on the court from night to night.

Last night’s game against the Bucks was no different.  For stretches the Hawks looked like that team we saw play last Saturday and then for other stretches we saw the team that laid an egg against the Hornets on Wednesday.  Both Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore fouled out late in the game which really hindered what the Hawks were able to do on offense down the stretch.  That, and the length of Michael Carter-Williams that bother Jeff Teague into shooting 4-13 on the night.  The Hawks had their chances down the stretch and in OT, but a missed dunk from Mike Scott and a few poor shots from the Hawks backcourt, including an air balled three from Korver were too much to overcome down the stretch.

The Nets are a different looking team from the last time we saw them in mid-November.  Starting point, Jarrett Jack, has been lost for the season due to a knee injury and Owner Mikhail Prokhorov deciding to do a little house keeping by essentially letting go of Billy King and firing Head Coach Lionel Hollins.  A move that should definitely shake things up a bit, but that likely won’t help this season or next as the team is a complete mess at this point with no draft picks this year or next thanks to a few questionable trades from the aforementioned King.  The Nets are on the second night of a back to back just like the Hawks after a 116-104 loss at the hands of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.  Brook Lopez led the Nets with 25 while our old friend Joe Johnson chipped in with 15.

The Hawks and Nets have met twice this season, with both teams winning on their home floor.  Lopez led all scorers in both contests with 27 and 24 respectively.  The Hawks are in need of some home cooking as they haven’t played well on the road this season.  With the Nets in the middle of a three game losing streak along with all of the changes that have been made recently, the Hawks need to take advantage of this team “in flux” to get this ship righted once again.  If only we were playing the 76ers…

More from Hawks News

Keys to the Game:

The Hawk Bench: Last night’s game went into OT.  Horford, Korver and Teague all played close to 40 minutes.  If it hadn’t been for foul trouble to both Millsap and Bazemore they would likely be in the same boat.  Coming off of a road trip, on the second night of a back to back and coming off of a game where you played an extra period, the Hawks could really use some help from their bench tonight.  Coach Bud doesn’t use his bench as much as I want him to at times so tonight I’ll be looking for a steady dose of Tiago Splitter and maybe even a Walter Tavares sighting to try and limit what Lopez is able to do on the block as he is the key to stopping this Nets team.

Jan 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter (11) passes the ball as Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) looks on during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter (11) passes the ball as Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) looks on during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Double Lopez: With an aging Joe Johnson, no Jarrett Jack or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a team that is void of quality depth, the Nets lean on Brook Lopez night in and night out.  He’s this team’s best player at the moment and one of the few trade chips that the Nets have to try and secure draft picks, but that is another story for another day.  He has always given the Hawks fits due to his size, length and skill around the basket.  He’s a true center and the type of player that the Hawks have had issues in containing for the last few years.  Along with Splitter seeing extended minutes, the team should send doubles his way early and often to keep him from getting comfortable.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Atlanta Hawks

  • PG: Jeff Teague
  • SG: Kyle Korver
  • SF: Kent Bazemore
  • PF: Paul Millsap
  • C: Al Horford

Notes: No injuries to report for the Hawks

New Jersey Nets

  • PG: Shane Larkin
  • SG: Bojan Bogdanovic
  • SF: Joe Johnson
  • PF: Thaddeus Young
  • C: Brook Lopez

Notes: Jarrett Jack (knee) is out for the season and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) is out until February

Other News & Notes:

  • Kent Bazemore has cooled off lately, scoring single digits in the last three games
  • This is a homecoming of sorts for Thaddeus Young who played his college ball at Georgia Tech
  • The Hawks are 2-4 to begin 2016
  • The Hawks have won seven straight at Philips against the Nets
  • Tonight’s game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South (TV) and 92.9 The Game (Radio)

Next: Three Observations: Hawks vs. Bucks

Visit for all the latest Atlanta Hawks news and analysis.