Scouting Report: Brooklyn Nets
The Atlanta Hawks continue their playoff chase by visiting the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
Brooklyn got off to a slow start this season but has turned things around dramatically since the calendar turned to 2014. New head coach Jason Kidd has the veteran group playing at a much higher level, and small ball has helped them get there.
Like Atlanta, Brooklyn lost an All-Star center early in the season when Brook Lopez suffered a foot injury. It took a while to recover, but rookie Mason Plumlee and reserve Andray Blatche have filled in nicely to tread water among the frontcourt. Kevin Garnett has been in and out as well, but lately it appears Kidd is jut resting him before the playoffs start, knowing they’ll have to rely on him and his experience.
Where Brooklyn has really been getting it done is the backcourt. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have really elevated their games, and both have the ability to create their own shots. Johnson is a matchup nightmare for opponents because he can shoot as well as drive. Williams is also very good at creating contact, so keeping him out of the lane will be a priority. Of course, the Nets made 16 threes when these teams last played in London, so the Nets do have multiple ways of beating opponents.
Where the Hawks have an advantage is the transition game. The addition of Shaun Livingston to the rotation, as well as moving Paul Pierce to power forward, both make the Nets faster, but they still play slow. Coach Bud always preaches pace, and the Hawks are at their best when playing fast. If they can limit the Nets to one shot and push the tempo, they stand a decent chance at ending Brooklyn’s impressive 15-game home winning streak.
On the injury front, Pero Antic was listed as day-to-say with a sore right ankle. Hopefully he’ll be able to go, which should help stretch Brooklyn’s defense.
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