NEW YORK -- Despite a solid start to Friday’s matchup against the Nets, the Hawks fell 124-107.
Here are five observations:
1. The Nets blew the game wide open in the third quarter as they pushed the pace while getting into the bodies of the Hawks on the defensive end. They held the Hawks to just 24 points in the quarter, after allowing just 22 in the second quarter.
The Hawks had few answers to slow the Nets from 3-point distance, a team that on average shoots 35.3% since the trade deadline. On Friday, the Nets knocked down 45.5% of their shots from long range, with much of the damage coming in a four-minute span where they stretched their lead from six to 20.
In that span, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers. Despite the Hawks’ attempts to work from the inside, the Nets just kept making shots and they scored 42 points in the third.
“They played very well, made a lot of shots,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “Some breakdowns when they got open looks that good shooters will make you pay for. And then some other ones were, I thought we were close to them. But I think their size too, it’s deceiving when you close on them. So they can shoot over you.”
2. Of the Nets, Bridges seemed to have the least resistance from the Hawks and seemingly got whatever shot he wanted. Since the Nets acquired Bridges in the deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Suns, the 26-year-old has been hot, even acquiring the nickname “Brooklyn Bridges” from Nets fans.
He made five of his eight attempts from distance, going on to score 42 points by the time Nets coach Jacques Vaughn cleared his bench with 3:08 left in the game. It’s the second time in three games that Bridges has piled up a 40-point game as he continues to average 26.8 since the trade.
“He was playing with an All-NBA player, Hall of Fame player and he was more of a complimentary player,” Snyder said. “He wasn’t the first or second option on that team. And clearly, he’s been working and he’s been efficient forever. He’s made those threes. He’s just more aggressive right now because he has to be and its credit to him.”
3. The Hawks went to the locker room at halftime down just 59-54 but they’d already begun to fall out of an offensive rhythm. When they returned, they struggled to hit their shots and the Nets got back to the other end quickly.
Though the Hawks crossed the 100-point mark for the 52nd straight game this season, the offense fell stagnant. They knocked down 10 of their 18 overall shot attempts but struggled to hit shots from outside, going 2-of-8 from 3.
The Hawks ended the night with their eighth-lowest field-goal percentage of the season at 42.9. They’re 1-8 when they shoot under 43% overall.
4. Hawks guard Trae Young had a quiet night. He scored 10 points on a season-low 25% shooting. It’s the second straight game that Young has had a tough night shooting.
Jalen Johnson returned to the rotation for the first time in seven games after dealing with a minor groin strain and minor hamstring strain.
De’Andre Hunter missed the game due to left knee soreness.
5. The Hawks had a chance to create some separation from the Raptors, who tied them for the eighth spot two games ago. But the Hawks’ loss to the Nets on Friday further jeopardized their spot in eighth.
The play-in race has already been tight leading into the night between the Hawks, Raptors and Bulls, who sit in the tenth spot. The Bulls won their game against the Hornets and climbed within one game of eighth place.
The Hawks play the Bulls on Tuesday. With just five games remaining in the regular season, every game is a must win for the Hawks. But with the Bulls winning two of the three previous meetings, the Hawks have even less room for error.
Nets 124, Hawks 107
Stat to know
0 -- The Hawks are 0-11 when allowing their opponent to shoot 45% or higher from 3-point distance.
“Just the overall feeling for me is you’re disappointed, it’s a big game. But I thought we competed throughout the game, even the guys that came in at the end. So I’m proud of us for that.”” -- Hawks coach Quin Snyder.
The Hawks host the Mavericks on Sunday at State Farm Arena.
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