The Atlanta Hawks are on sort of shaky ground at the moment, but they’re good enough to end the six-game winning streak the Brooklyn Nets were on, losing 131-99 to the number one seed in the East which might cause them quite a lot of problems when it come to actually making the playoffs.
Right now the Nets are still in a good position thanks to their impressive form of late, positioning them at 7th in the East. After the loss, they have half a game of a lead over Boston at 8th, but the Heat, Pacers and Hornets are all in the same chase, trying to finish at 8th or 7th with a record that would almost be considered tanking in the West.
The Hawks couldn’t miss all game long, getting plenty of easy looks thanks to 21 turnovers from the Nets (15 of them by steals courtesy of excellent defense). The Hawks scored 33 points off those turnovers, finished with 50 in the paint and overall shot 59.8% from the field, including 17-of-33 from beyond the arc as DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver and Kent Bazemore were especially difficult to mark and stop.
Al Horford scored 20 points which included his incredible dunk over three defenders, while Kent Bazemore also provided the fans with a delightful sequence of highlights that included a big block on one end, racing to the other side of the court to finish off the possession with a 3-pointer. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Hawks regardless of who was on the floor.
But not everything was good for the Hawks, as Paul Millsap had to leave the game after a collision with Earl Clark that caused a shoulder injury to the power forward. He left the court and with the Hawks not having to worry about chasers anymore (eight game lead on top of the East), maybe it’s time to start giving key players like Millsap and others some serious and well earned rest.
With a crucial stretch of games left for the Nets to go through, maybe it’s good that this loss was so devastating and not remotely contested. It forced Hollins to rest his weary starters very early in the game. While everyone across the league, old & young, is tired and bruised if not worse at this point of the season, a few extra minutes of rest can go a long way and maybe even decide the playoff race in favor of the Nets.