Quin Snyder name-drops Nets duo after Hawks' loss starts new skid

Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder made note of two Brooklyn Nets players in particular following back-to-back losses to them.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Back-to-back losses ended in a very similar fashion for the Atlanta Hawks (26-34) versus the Brooklyn Nets – losses by double-digit points.

Dejounte Murray said the Hawks weren’t on the same page after the first meeting. This time, Head Coach Quin Snyder pointed to the Nets’ increased physicality as a key factor, and it began at the point of attack.

More specifically, it began with Dennis Smight Jr. and Dennis Schroder.

“They took their physicality up a notch, and I thought that made it harder for us to break the paint and really fight for the rim, as we talk about, and, again attacking the switching,” Snyder told reporters following the 114-102 loss on March 2. “It's not a switching defense, per se. It's a team that has size and athleticism throughout their lineup. 

“With Smith and Dennis, their ball pressure makes it hard to enter, and we just have to be better. More committed to actions that move them, to get side to side and create some easier openings because when you don't score, you're playing defense in transition, and that becomes difficult.”

Hawks point guards Murray and rookie Kobe Bufkin combined to go 9-for-24 from the floor, with Murray doing the heavy lifting.

This is despite having the height advantage on both Schroder and Smith.

The Hawks allow the second-most (tied) points per possession in transition this season, per NBA.com. That allowed a Nets offense producing the fourth-fewest (tied) points per possession in transition to post a 15-0 advantage in transition points.

De’Andre Hunter put Hawks’ ‘.5 mindset’ in action

On the brighter side for the Hawks, it was another solid showing from De’Andre Hunter. He finished with 15 points, including going 4-for-6 from downtown.

Snyder pointed to Hunter’s decisiveness compared to the team’s in most of the game.

“It's a ‘point-5 [0.5 seconds] mindset we want,” Snyder said. “Those decisions really have to happen before you get the ball. I thought De’Andre did a great job of that in the first half, just rising up and taking a shot. And then you forced some closeout situations and you're able to attack those.”

Hunter is now averaging 17.9 points and shooting 50% from beyond the arc over his last 10 appearances. He has scored double-digit points in each of those games.

It was still his decisiveness that Snyder would like to see permeate through the rest of the team.

Hawks need to move the ball more

“It's just something that we need to continue to be better at, and that is offensive execution,” Snyder said. “You need guys to make plays, and that's great.

“For us to be able to sustain offensive efficiency, we’ve got to move the ball as well.

The Hawks fell to 8-21 when they fail to dish out at least 26 assists in a game this season. They are 18-13 when they do. Making shots has a lot to do with that, and the Hawks shot 42.5% overall and were 11-for-34 from deep (32.4%) in this loss.

“It's not like it didn't happen,” Snyder said, noting that moving the ball is a team directive with Trae Young sidelined. “It just has to happen more.”