The venue is different but the mission remains the same.
The Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets have shifted their first round series to New York for the next two contests, with Game 3 set for Saturday afternoon at the Barclays Center. The Hawks have not performed at optimal levels in the first two games, but in the same breath, Atlanta leads the series 2-0 and there is something to be said for simply "taking care of business" during the NBA Playoffs.
In advance of Game 2, the biggest question marks surrounded the health of Paul Millsap and Al Horford, but both players answered with emphatic performances. With that on the table, it will be interesting to see how each All-Star player performs in their follow-up effort, and from a match-up standpoint, keeping the Nets away from the offensive glass for a second straight night (Brooklyn had only 8 offensive boards in Game 2) would be significant.
The bench was, in a word, uneven in Game 2, and that is certainly an area to watch for Atlanta. Pero Antic performed quite admirably in limited minutes, but outside of his contributions and a strong night from Dennis Schröder, the group was less than stellar. On the road, it is often stated that "fringe" players struggle, but it would be hard to envision a rougher performance from the likes of Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore.
In the vein of discussing home-court advantage, the Brooklyn Nets... don't have one. Lionel Hollins was quick to reference their desire to "hold serve" at home following Game 2, but the Nets were just 19-22 in the Barclays Center this season, which is an identical record to their work on the road. Obviously, that arena will be at a "fever pitch" (at least relatively speaking) for a playoff contest, but the Hawks have done strong work on the road this season and Mike Budenholzer's team isn't likely to be phased by the atmosphere.
The Atlanta Hawks are better than the Brooklyn Nets. That statement is fairly clear-cut at this point, but the visiting team will be aiming to avoid a letdown that many predict, and while asking for a sweep is usually a tall request, it's time to get greedy. Stay tuned.