Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #6: Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets

2015 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

#1 Atlanta Hawks at #8 Brooklyn Nets
Hawks Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Game #6 Barclays Center – Brooklyn, New York
Friday, May 1, 2015, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Atlanta -4 1/2
Current Line: Atlanta -4
Opening Total: 200 1/2
Current Total: 199
Opening Money Line: Hawks -165 / Nets +140
Current Money Line: Hawks -170 / Nets +145

The Hawks look to close out the Nets in game six Friday in Brooklyn.
The Hawks look to close out the Nets in game six Friday in Brooklyn.

The home team has won every game in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the #1 seed Atlanta Hawks and #8 Brooklyn Nets. The two teams return to Brooklyn for game six Friday night. An Atlanta win would clinch the series and set of a conference semifinal match-up with the Washington Wizards. A Brooklyn win would force a game seven Sunday in Atlanta.

Every game in this series has been competitive and has been decided by 10 points or less. Atlanta won the first two games at home 99-92 in game one and 96-91 in game two. The Nets had lost seven straight games to the Hawks before game three, but won both games in Brooklyn 91-83 in game three and 120-115 in overtime in game four. The series returned to Atlanta for game five Wednesday, and the Hawks won 107-97 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Atlanta took a 33-16 lead at the end of the first in game five. Brooklyn closed the gap to nine by halftime. Atlanta led by 12 at the end of the third. Brooklyn rallied and pulled to within 90-89 and 97-95 but could not take the lead. The Hawks made their free throws including four straight in the final 30 seconds to hold on for the 10 point win.

All five Hawks starters finished in double figure scoring. Forward DeMarre Carroll had 24 points, with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Al Horford had 20 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, despite aggravating a dislocated finger suffered in game one. Jeff Teague also had 20 points along with 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. He turned his ankle in the third, but returned after getting it taped up. He is listed as probable Friday night. Kyle Korver had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Paul Millsap had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. The Atlanta bench scored only 16 total points.

By contrast, two of the three leading scorers for the Nets came off the bench. Alan Anderson had 23 points, and 7 rebounds. Jarrett Jack had 18 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Joe Johnson had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Brook Lopez had 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists. Thaddeus Young had 11 points and 4 rebounds.

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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 last week. The Hawks had never won 60 games in a season before this year. It was also their first division title since 1994. Atlanta 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. When Hollins was head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Grizzlies twice came back from 0-2 series deficits to win the series. 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.

Brooklyn is 43-42-2 ATS and the total is 39-48 this season. The Nets were 9 point underdogs in game #5 and the total was 200. The Hawks are 51-34-2 this season and the total is 43-45.

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. 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. Horford suffered a dislocated pinky in game one and has his hand taped but is probable. 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.

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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. Mirza Teletovic returned in game two after missing more than two months with blood clots in his lungs. Sergey Karasev is out for the season with a knee injury.

Atlanta is 3-0-1 ATS after a cover, 4-1 in Friday games, 3-1-1 after scoring 100 points or more, 27-13-1 on one day rest, 1-4 against teams with losing home records, 1-5 against teams with losing records, and against Atlantic teams, 1-6 i first round playoff games, 1-6-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, and 0-3-1 in road games.

Brooklyn is 3-0-1 ATS in Friday games, 7-1-1 after a straight up loss, 7-1 in first round playoff games, 6-1-1 after failing to cover, 6-1 against Southeast teams, 5-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 8-2-1 at home, 8-2 against teams with winning road records, and 8-3-1 on one day rest. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series recently. The Nets are 4-1 ATS in this series and had covered the first four games before Wednesday.

Atlanta won 60 games this season, but hasn’t played very well in this series. I think they stop playing around and end this series against a not very good Brooklyn team.

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