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Hawks vs. Nets preview: Atlanta ends back-to-back in Brooklyn

Atlanta looks for another road win as the playoffs approach.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks play the Brooklyn Nets on the road on Sunday evening, finishing a weekend back-to-back that started in Chicago. These teams played one week ago, as the Hawks fell to the Nets in Atlanta. Still reeling from injuries, and battling for playoff position in the Eastern Conference, every game is critical right now for Atlanta.

The last few weeks have not been great for the Hawks, something that all fans are painfully aware of right now. Paul Millsap, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kent Bazemore have all suffered through injuries, and Atlanta has steadily nosedived down the Eastern Conference standings as other nearby teams have started to heat up. Fortunately, a game in Brooklyn is a nice opportunity to get a victory, but the Hawks’ defeat against the Nets in Atlanta a week ago doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, especially with the uncertainty surrounding a potential return from Millsap.

It’s tough to gauge the Hawks’ level of play recently. Victories against the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers are nice (if expected), and Atlanta played well for much of Saturday’s contest in Chicago. Inconsistency in the fourth quarter doomed the Hawks on Saturday night, but the game as a whole was far from a terrible performance. A consistent Hawks performance tonight would be encouraging.

It would be easy to make fun of the Brooklyn Nets, but this team is much better than its subpar record suggests. Former Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson has done a good job of getting the most out of his roster, and the Nets are easily a decent team when Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez are on the floor. And, as evidenced by last Sunday’s result, the Nets are certainly capable of beating the Hawks.

All else aside, every game between now and the end of the regular season is crucial for the Hawks. Atlanta sits in sixth place as of this writing, but most of the East is fluid enough for that to change quickly. A win against Brooklyn won’t guarantee a better finish in the standings, but it’s a vital first step.

Game Info:

Game Date/Time: Sunday, April 2, 6:00 p.m. ET

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM