After 56 games, the Brooklyn Nets were the definition of average. Led by former Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, the Nets were 26-30 in the standings, but a deeper look revealed a 0.0 net rating for the season. Essentially, Brooklyn was dead-even in terms of scoring margin.
While that may not seem impressive, the Hawks would love to be a league-average team at the moment and, on Friday evening, Atlanta will match up with Brooklyn at home in an interesting tilt. The Hawks are playing better basketball lately and, at home, Atlanta is certainly capable of knocking off a team that has been established as average. In fact, one of the next steps for the Hawks might be the expectation to win a game like this and, without Kyrie Irving available for the Nets, Atlanta just might be favored by the good folks in Las Vegas.
In addition to the measuring stick potential of this contest, there are a few additional story lines. The Hawks are in the middle of a home-stand that includes three games in four nights, with the Portland Trail Blazers awaiting on Saturday night in Atlanta. Beyond that, Taurean Prince returns to Atlanta for only the second time in an opposing uniform and this is the first match-up between the two teams that will take place after the Hawks dealt the first-round pick (via Brooklyn) in a deal to acquire Clint Capela.
Before the season and into January, the game between the Hawks and Nets on Feb. 28 may have been most noteworthy for draft considerations. Now, it will be an interesting test for Atlanta and, as always, a weekend game at State Farm Arena should bring a fun atmosphere.
On Friday night, the Hawks and Nets tip off at 7:30 pm ET at State Farm Arena, and the game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southeast. If you’d like to buy tickets to the game against Miami, you can do so from StubHub here.
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