Sunday afternoon’s game in Brooklyn was not the picture of efficiency or effectiveness for the Atlanta Hawks. While that did not stop the team from competing with the Nets for the bulk of the proceedings, the end result was a 116-104 loss to fall to 1-2 on the young season.
The road team put together a strong effort in the early going and it was led by Ersan Ilyasova in scoring the first five points of the game. In short order, though, the Nets charged ahead with a 9-0 run to take the lead and that established what would be a back and forth half. In fact, Atlanta finished the opening period on a 14-5 run and claimed the lead despite shooting just 33 percent from the floor in the first 12 minutes.
In the second, the Nets put together a 7-0 run to take the lead and they would ride that wave to a 56-53 halftime advantage. Once again, Mike Budenholzer sent 12 players on to the floor in the first two quarters (including four point guards) and the offense scuffled considerably. Fortunately, the Hawks did convert 18 of 19 free throw attempts, helping to keep things afloat.
There were some positive offensive flashes, though, from Mike Muscala utilizing his dribble effectively to the rim to Dewayne Dedmon, well, firing away from the perimeter.
As it did on Friday, the third quarter appeared to sink the Hawks on this afternoon and the downturn came in the form of a 13-2 run from the Nets. In short, Atlanta struggled mightily on both ends and the end result was a 14-point deficit as the fourth period opened.
However, there was quick life when Malcolm Delaney and Marco Belinelli connected on back-to-back threes to slash the margin to single digits and that was just the beginning. Later in the period, the Hawks put together a 15-3 run in conjunction with Schröder awakening from a slumber for six straight points and Belinelli capping the spurt with a three to tie the game.
Seemingly on cue, though, the Nets rattled off the next seven points to reestablish control and the home team never trailed. It was certainly admirable that the Hawks were able to climb back into the proceedings on the heels of a large deficit but it was never enough to push things over the top to the tune of a win.
While there were some highs (like eight assists), Schröder struggled mightily from an efficiency perspective and that is always going to hinder this particular Hawks team. The much bigger concern, though, is that Schröder left the game late in the fourth quarter and had to be helped to the locker room with an injury to his left leg.
Elsewhere, John Collins produced his first double-double as a professional with 14 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes and that was flanked by productive outputs from Kent Bazemore (16 points) and Marco Belinelli (19 points).
The Hawks will travel to Miami for a quick back-to-back on Monday evening and, in contrast to Sunday afternoon, that is a game in which Atlanta is widely seen as a significant underdog. Stay tuned.