When and where: February 28, 2020, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA, 7:30 PM ET
The Brooklyn Nets will look to complete a four-game regular-season sweep over the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Friday. There hasn’t been much to celebrate recently for the Nets after dropping three of their last four games, including a recent road loss to the Washington Wizards. The same could be said about the Hawks after watching them fall in back-to-back losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic. They have been defeated by 10-plus points in each of their previous meetings with the Nets.
Nets too sloppy on the roadEven though they entered the game as two-point favorites, the Nets never gave themselves much of a chance of winning on the road against the Wizards. They got off to a sluggish start and fell behind 31-17 in the first quarter. Despite trailing by as many as 18 points, they somehow climbed back into the contest, only to unravel late in the game due to turnovers and too many missed free throws.
It was a bad loss for a team barely hanging onto the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Perhaps there’s hope over the horizon with a road trip to Atlanta next on the itinerary.
Defense might be the only saving grace for the Nets against a Hawks team with a pair of gaudy youngsters in Trae Young and John Collins.
Of course, that’s assuming Young (illness) is even well enough to play.
The Nets’ seventh-ranked defense is allowing an average 44.1 percent shooting this season. They’re a scrappy group that will cause big problems for the Hawks whether Young is on the floor or not. They have won all three of the head-to-head meetings between the two teams this season.
The lack of a reliable offense has been the primary issue for the Nets when they get into trouble against a good scoring team. Kyrie Irving didn’t gel with the team immediately as an individual player, but he at least provided them a superstar presence to spark the offense. That’s nowhere to be found for the current group outside of a burgeoning Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.
Young magic not enough for the HawksTrae Young is a special player, but he isn’t superhuman.
The Hawks obviously need the latter to drag them to a respectable end to what has been a nightmarish season. They were dropped with ease by the Magic in a game where they were 2.5-point dogs. Young finished with a double-double and a team-high 37 points and 11 rebounds.
And none of it mattered.
The outcome was still the same for a Hawks team competing not to finish with the worst record in the NBA. Young’s availability is up in the air ahead of Friday’s meeting with the Nets, setting the stage for even bigger problems for Atlanta.
Brooklyn has their shooting issues, but their defense is more than capable of putting the clamps on a Hawks team ranked 27th in offensive efficiency. Collins could be feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders if Young isn’t given the green light to play. The Hawks are averaging 44.7 percent shooting from the floor this season.
They’re also the second-worst scoring defense in the league. This might be one of the few games where the Nets can actually get something going on offense.
- Nets are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
- Hawks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.