Welp, at least we all saw the loss coming, right? On a night where the Nets could only do so much on a back-to-back while missing what felt like half their team, they took a loss to the well-rested Celtics 116-95. Happens.
A bounce back win would be great, and there’s maybe no better team to do that against than the Atlanta Hawks! The last time these two matched up the Nets won pretty resoundingly, 144-127. The Hawks are 12th in the East at 12-27 and if Brooklyn wants to make the playoffs this season, these are the types of games they need to win. Let’s get into it.
Where To Follow The Game
YES and WFAN at 7:30 pm, ET
Oh boy. Caris LeVert (foot) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (adductor) Allen Crabbe (knee) and Dzanan Musa (shoulder) are all still out. Joe Harris (ankle, general rest) and DeMarre Carroll (also ankle and just like, general rest) are both “probable” against the Hawks after missing the Celtics matchup.
As an added little bonus for the tired and injured Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks are playing a back-to-back starting with the relentless Raptors on Tuesday night. They lost, 104-101, in a tight one. Jeremy Lin and Trae Young led the Hawks with 20 and 16.
Do I like competitive basketball? Sure. Would it be fun if the Nets blow out the Hawks after a back-to-back as a bounce back win? I want a lead so big that Kenny Atkinson comes in and plays garbage time point guard for a while. Could work.
Atlanta is, by most measures, Bad. They are owners of the 27th ranked Net Rating in the league and the 30th ranked Turnover Percentage which is unsurprising due to their top- ranked Pace which, especially for a young and bad team, can cause plenty of errant passes and missed plays. They do make a decent amount of threes, ranking 10th in the league with 11.6 per game, but shoot a 27th ranked 33.6 percent. They run, they chuck up shots, and they allow their opponents to score a league-worst 117.6 points per game.
Their brightest bright spot is probably John Collins, who has all the tools to be one of the better big men in the NBA in a few years. Averaging a double-double of 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds going into Tuesday night (all these stats are prior to Tuesday’s game, by the way, but I don’t really think Atlanta is going to change much in 24 hours) he plays a fluid, versatile game with his biggest flaw being that he fouls a bit too much which is almost every young big man’s issue anyway. He possesses enough of a jumper to at least demand some attention at the perimeter which makes him a little more dangerous setting screens for guys like Lin and Young.
Jarrett Allen matches up pretty well with Collins, and the two second-year big men actually make for an interesting comparison. Taken just a few picks away from each other (19th for Collins and 22nd for Allen) they both represent what a big man can be in today’s NBA. This season, Collins is edging out Allen in points and rebounds, while Allen fouls much less and blocks shots much more often. Collins demands the ball more, with a 23.3 percent usage rate compared to 17.1 percent for Allen, but that results in more turnovers for Collins. Their matchup on Wednesday will be a fun one.
It will also be fun to get DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris back, both of whom have been playing wonderfully of late. Carroll, once seen as nothing more than a salary dump, has emerged to fortify the Nets rotation with his trademark solid defense and some hot shooting. In his last six, he’s up to 17.3 points and shooting 54 percent from the field and 47 percent from deep. Joe Harris is shooting 57.7 percent from three over the span of 15 games which is insanity. Both of their returns will be important.
The last time we saw Atlanta, Dewayne Dedmon was hitting threes and seemingly imploring the Nets to “call him.” As great a taunt as it was, I wouldn’t mind it. The 29-year-old center can hit shots, throw some hard fouls around, set solid screens, and just generally be a decent backup center. If the Nets are looking to bulk up their big man rotation, Dedmon wouldn’t be the worst option. The money is tough to work out in a trade without giving up anyone of significance or taking on future money, but Sean Marks is more creative than I am so never rule it out!
Trae Young is still shooting pretty horribly, 39 percent from the field and 29 percent from three with a 26.9 percent usage rate. Not good. He makes up for some of it with solid passing, but generally he has the ability to shoot himself and his team out of games. Atlanta has a ton of guards, including Jeremy Lin, Kent Bazemore, DeAndre Bembry, Kevin Huerter, but none of them are particularly dangerous on their own in any given game.
Player To Watch
Jeremy Lin only ended up playing 37 games for the Nets over the course of two seasons. 36 in the first and just the one in his second year in Brooklyn. The Nets shipped him out this summer in order to acquire the Nuggets protected first rounder this year and a second next year. It was a move that both at the time and in hindsight is a no-brainer. Still, Lin is playing decently in limited minutes in Atlanta, scoring 10.6 points shooting 49 percent from the field and 38 percent from three in 18.7 minutes per game. He doesn’t have the mobility he once did, but he’s still a leader on the court and can be an asset to a team that wants a responsible, game managing point guard coming off the bench.
We take a look elsewhere at what he could be his last game vs. the Nets.
From The Vault
Speaking of legacies, Linsanity was fun, even if it began against the Nets.
For another side of the story, head on over to Peachtree Hoops, our Hawks sister site on SB Nation.