Eastern Conference Playoffs Game #2: Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks

2015 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

#8 Brooklyn Nets at #1 Atlanta Hawks
Hawks Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Game #2 Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBA TV
Opening Line: Atlanta -10 /2
Current Line: Atlanta -9 1/2
Opening Total: 202
Current Total: 202 1/2
Opening Money Line: Hawks -550 / Nets +430
Current Money Line: Hawks -500 / Nets +400

The Hawks look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Nets Wednesday after a sluggish game one win.
The Hawks look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Nets Wednesday after a sluggish game one win.

So far through 13 NBA playoff games the home team is 11-2 straight up. The Washington Wizards won both games on the road  at the Toronto Raptors but no other road team has won in the post-season. The Atlanta Hawks look to continue that trend as they host the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.

Atlanta won game one Sunday 99-92. It was much closer than people thought as the Hawks finished 22 games better than the Nets and Atlanta won all four regular season meetings by an average of 17 points. Atlanta led by as many as 16 in the first half, but Brooklyn pulled to within 10 points at halftime. The Nets would open the third on a 9-2 run to pull within 3 points. Atlanta would take a 12 point lead into the fourth, and held on for the seven point win.

Hawks’ guard Kyle Korver led all scorers with 21 points and added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. DeMarre Carroll added 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Jeff Teague also scored 17 points, and added 3 assists. Dennis Schroder added 13 points off the bench for the Hawks. Al Horford had 10 points and 10 rebounds despite suffering a dislocated pinkie during the game. He returned in the fourth quarter with his hand heavily taped. He is listed as probable Wednesday night.

Nets’ center Brook Lopez had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2 steals. Former Hawk Joe Johnson also scored 17 points and added 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Thaddeus Young added 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Derron Williams and Jarrett Jack each scored 13 points.

The 60-22 Atlanta Hawks have the second best record in basketball behind the Golden State Warriors who are 67-15. The Hawks won the Southeast Division by 14 games over the Washington Wizards and are the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference by 7 games over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta is coached by Mike Budenholzer, who was named NBA coach of the year earlier this week. The Hawks had never won 60 games in a season before this year. It was also their first division title since 1994. Atlanta, coached by Mike Budenholzer, is in the playoffs for the eighth straight season but they have never made it past the second round during that run.

Brooklyn, coached by Lionel Hollins,  finished third in the Atlantic Division 11 games behind Toronto. The Nets tied with the Indiana Pacers for the last playoff spot in the East, but the Nets won the head to head tiebreaker. Brooklyn is in the playoffs for the third straight season.

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Brooklyn went 3-4 down the stretch but won when they needed to in order to hold off the Pacers. Brooklyn is 40-41-2 ATS and the total is 37-46 this season. The Nets were 11 point favorites in game #1 and the total was 205.

Atlanta went 7-8 in the last 15 games including a 3 game losing streak to end the season. The Hawks rested their starters down the stretch after they had already wrapped up the #1 seed. The Hawks are 50-31-2 this season and the total is 42-41.

Brooklyn is being outscored 101-98 this season. The Nets are shooting 45.3% from the field and 33% from 3 point range. The Nets make 75% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.5% from the field and 38.8% from 3 point range. Brooklyn averages 43.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.2 rebounds per game. The Nets average 20.9 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 7 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.

Brook Lopez averages 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Joe Johnson averages 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Johnson was an all-star player for the Hawks until 2012 when he signed with the Nets. Deron Williams averages 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. Jarrett Jack averages 11.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Alan Anderson is probable with an ankle injury. Darius Morris is questionable with the flu. Mirza Teletovic is probable with a lung injury. Sergey Karasev is out for the season.

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Atlanta is outscoring teams 103-97 this season. The Hawks are in the top ten in both categories. Atlanta is shooting 46.6% from the field and 38% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #4 or better in both categories. Atlanta is #5 in free throw shooting at 77.5% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #7 or better in both categories. Atlanta averages 40.6 rebounds and opponents average 43.6 per game. The Hawks are #28 in rebounding. Atlanta averages 25.7 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 9.1 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.

Paul Millsap averages 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He is probable with a shoulder injury. He struggled in game one going only 2/11 from the field with 6 points in his first game back after the injury. Jeff Teague averages 15.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Al Horford averages 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. DeMarre Carroll averages 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game.Kyle Korver averages 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Dennis Schroder averages 10 points, 2.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season with a broken leg.

Brooklyn is 4-0 ATS in first round playoff games, 5-1-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 on two days rest, 10-21 against Southeast teams, 2-6 in Wednesday games and 1-4-1 after a cover. The underdog is 8-3 ATS in this series recently and the road team is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 games in this series. The Nets have covered 4 of their last 5 trips to Atlanta.

Atlanta is 3-0-1 ATS after a straight up win, 4-1 on two days rest, 6-2 against teams with losing road records, 5-2 at home, 19-9-1 after failing to cover, 2-7 against Atlantic Division teams, 1-4 in first round playoff games, 0-3-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams. The over is 11-5 in this series recently in Atlanta.

Atlanta rested their starters for basically the last two or three weeks. They looked sharp and well rested in the first half but then seemed to lose focus in the second half. I think the Hawks win at home again but it could be close like game one.

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