Hawks 93, Nets 88

David Vertsberger —  April 11, 2014

FINAL

BKN.gif(43-36) 88 – 93 (36-43)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 27 pts, 10 reb
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta’s magic number is now 1 after an impressive, albeit surprising victory over the Nets. Surprising in the context of this game, not in general (the Nets were without Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Andray Blatche,) as the Hawks went 1-18 from three point range and had three sub-twenty point quarters yet somehow pulled away by five. A narrow margin in favor of the Nets dissipated in the second quarter thanks to strong minutes by the bench squad, and Atlanta soon pulled ahead to go up by double-digits. The Hawks scored a whopping 39 points in that second quarter thanks to some crisp defense, a whole lot of Jeff Teague and transition basketball. After a third quarter where Atlanta cooled off and just barely clung on to their lead, the fourth quarter turned into a back-and-forth affair that favored the Hawks in the final minutes. Down three with 47 ticks to go, the Nets looked to Joe Johnson, who was suffocated by DeMarre Carroll, forcing the miss. Teague took it down the other end and dropped in a floater off a high screen and roll. Ball game.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: A perfect game from Paul Millsap tonight, coming up huge in a must-win. Having to guard smaller opponents all night, Millsap stood up to the task without fault, holding Paul Pierce to 5-14 shooting and still helping on the interior. On the offensive end, Millsap came up with some big buckets in the fourth and finished with a big 27-point night on 10-19 shooting from the field. He also collected 10 rebounds. 10/10

Elton Brand: Coach Bud elected to not overplay Elton Brand a whole lot tonight, but in his 22 minutes of action he was his usual effective self on both ends. Most impressively, he totaled four blocks and two steals over that stretch. He also put home a couple of baby jumpers in the early going. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague had a field day tonight, especially in the time where he was matched up with his younger brother, Marquis. Oh, poor Marquis. Jeff went to town with a slew of crossovers and takes to the rim, finishing with 22 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Um… Ouch. Korver didn’t put up a three until the third quarter, when he launched two ill-advised misses. He went on to go 1-8 from the field and 0-5 from deep on the night, never finding any sort of a rhythm. However, he came up with a big rebound and strip in the closing couple of minutes. 3/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll played a phenomenal game, absolutely shutting down the red hot Joe Johnson, holding him at 9 points on 4-15 shooting. Carroll was also major on the boards where the Hawks were a bit out-matched, grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points for the double-double. Huge performance. 10/10

Pero Antic: Antic was largely ineffective all night, struggling to find his range and getting beaten on the defensive end seemingly every trip down. Not a lot of blame can be put on his shoulders, coming off of ankle trouble, but here’s to hoping he can step it up in the coming games. 2/10

Mike Scott: Mike Scott picked up the scoring load for the second unit, picking up 8 points on 4-7 shooting from the field in a pretty solid and quiet outing. Interesting to see him play just 11 minutes against Brooklyn’s small attack, but Millsap was so strong defensively on this night there’s little reason to complain. 7/10

Cartier Martin: Four spot minutes where not much of anything happened. NA/10

Lou Williams: Lou didn’t force the action whatsoever, picking his spots carefully and only putting up four shots in 19 minutes. He was however, putting in a good effort on defense and even on the glass, so his nonexistent offense isn’t all that big a deal. 6/10

Dennis Schröder: Schröder looked very comfortable out there tonight, making good decisions on offense and poised rotations on defense. He was 1-4, but dished out 4 assists and didn’t turn the ball over. 7/10

Mike Muscala: These might have been the best Muscala minutes we’ve seen all year. Jawz was second on the team in +/- thanks to being a part of the Hawks’ huge run in the second, scoring 6 points on 2/2 shooting and playing with a bit of an edge that we haven’t seen previously. Lots of his moves were still awkward and herky-jerky, his defense still left a lot to be desired, but a great sign to see him being a positive factor out there tonight. 9/10

Mike Budenhozler: Coach Budenholzer had his team switch a lot more often than usual tonight, which I thought of as a pretty great strategy considering the Nets are at their worst on offense when they choose to isolate. This was often the case as the Hawks would begin switching with the shot clock down to 10 or 11, which stalled the Nets offense and usually ended in a late-clock fling,  I was confused at one point though, when Korver was 0-4 from downtown and Budenholzer drew him up a play in the final three minutes of the contest. Korver couldn’t get set all night and the Nets defended him extremely well, so I was a bit surprised when the ball didn’t go to Millsap or Teague. 9/10

Opposition: The Nets were without some of their key cogs, but really had no excuse to lose this game. Some awful free throw shooting and easy missed shots cost them this one. 5/10

Next: Atlanta vs. Miami, Saturday, April 12th

David Vertsberger

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