By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)
January 6th, 2014
W2W4: Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets riding a two-game winning streak will be at home yet again looking to pick up a win over the Atlanta Hawks, who are one of the few teams above .500 in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn now sits at (12-21) on the season, and are gaining some ground on the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.
- Deron’s Ankle
Quite possibility the deciding factor in this game will be the healthy of Nets Point Guard Deron Williams, who is a game-time call with a sore ankle. Williams missed the morning shoot around, and it is the left ankle that is giving him troubles, which has to be a bit concerning for Brooklyn. If Williams can’t go it would be a huge blow to Brooklyn, as he has been playing very well on the Nets two-game winning streak, averaging 25 points on 63% shooting.
- Missing Star
The Atlanta Hawks will be without their best player Al Horford for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, but in the six games without him the Hawks have been able to play .500 basketball, which in the East is good enough to be a playoff team. There is still some good talent on the Hawks, with Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver all having good seasons, but without Horford it figures to be a tough rest of the season.
- Stay Small
Jason’s Kidd’s move to the smaller lineup for the Nets since the injury to Brook Lopez has seen great success so far, and it would seem to be silly to change it up. The new lineup has seen instant results for Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, who have played their best basketball of the season in the new lineup. The one player who the Nets would love to see get it going would be Joe Johnson, who hasn’t scored in double-digits since Christmas, and his last game against the Cavaliers; he scored just two points in 35 minutes.
- Third Quarter Issues
In the win against the Cavaliers on Saturday one of the big problems from the 2012-13 season surfaced up again, and almost cost the Nets a game, and that was poor play in the third quarter. In the third the Nets were outscored 27-16, which erased a nice 51-38 halftime lead for the most part. The three for 13 shooting from the field along with some poor defense led to the bad quarter. Against a much better team in the Hawks, losing quarters by double-digit points won’t result in a win.