The Hawks started hot and staved off another Nets comeback in Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. Coach Budenholzer implied in the time leading up to the game that the players were raring to go, and they showed it. Atlanta led 33-16 after one quarter, but the Nets pulled within two with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jeff Teague had a hand in eight of the Hawks’ final ten points, assisting on an Al Horford jumper and scoring six straight to put the Nets away.
DeMarre Carroll led all players in scoring with 24 in a game that saw each of Atlanta’s starters play at least 34 minutes and virtually all of the fourth quarter. “Coach came to us each individually and told us we were probably going to pick up some more minutes,” Carroll said after the game. The shortened rotation is something that Budenholzer will use going forward, as most coaches do in the playoffs. Mike Scott has fallen out of favor recently and played just over two minutes in this game as Budenholzer opted for a three-man rotation at the power forward and center positions. Pero Antic played almost 18 minutes and provided some much needed defense and rebounding against Brook Lopez.
The Hawks again had trouble with the Brooklyn guards; this time it was Alan Anderson and Jarrett Jack lighting up the floor. Anderson finished with 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-4 from three. Jack scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets clawed back from a 12-point deficit. Game 4 hero Deron Williams finished just 2-for-8 as the bench picked up the scoring load for the Nets. Brook Lopez picked up three rebounds in the whole game, a testament to the Hawks’ collective effort to keep Brooklyn off the glass.
Dennis Schröder continued to struggle in this series and one can’t imagine that he’ll have too many more chances before Budenholzer will bring Shelvin Mack in to play point guard when Teague has to sit. Schröder played just under 11 minutes in Game 5 and was inconsistent when he was on the floor, driving and scoring on one end while giving up open jumpers and layups on the other.
The five starters for Atlanta dominated the game, from Horford’s 20 points and 15 rebounds to Teague’s 20 points and eight assists, and ultimately proved too much for the Nets to handle. The Hawks weren’t fantastic at the free throw line, hitting 14 of their 20 attempts, but the ball was moving on the offensive end once again, and the shots that just wouldn’t fall in Game 4 fell for Atlanta tonight.
The two teams fly back to Brooklyn for Game 6 on Friday night, with a chance for the Hawks to close out the series and begin the Wizards series on Sunday. If the Nets win Game 6, Game 7 will be played at Philips Arena on Sunday instead.