NEW YORK -- The Hawks could not stop the Nets’ 3-point shooting barrage and fell 124-97 on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.

Here are five observations:

1. The Hawks hit everything but the net in the opening quarter, making just two of their 12 field-goal attempts in the first six minutes. Despite probing the Nets’ defense and finding good looks, the Hawks’ shots hit the back iron, fell short or rimmed out.

It was the worst opening quarter for the Hawks this season. They made the fewest field goals in a first quarter and put up a season-low 16 points, all while spotting the Nets 34. It’s the largest deficit the Hawks have had in an opening quarter.

“At the beginning of the game, first Brooklyn executed well and shot the ball really well,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “But you know what, going into the game, that’s part of the game plan or point of emphasis and we weren’t focused on the right things from a game-plan perspective at the beginning game and anytime you get down, whatever 18 or 20 out of the gate, you’re gonna make it really difficult on yourself. "

2. Their lackluster opening followed two consecutive strong defensive outings. The Hawks held the Magic and Jazz under 100 points in back-to-back games. But the connectivity that helped them in Sunday’s and Tuesday’s wins was missing.

The Nets got hot, sinking seven 3s in the first quarter, with four of them coming on consecutive possessions from Dorian Finney-Smith and Cam Johnson. The Nets opened the game on a 12-4 run.

While the Hawks cut a 17-point lead to six at the end of the first half, the Nets got a couple of daggers from Johnson and Dennis Schroeder throughout the third that kept the game out of reach.

Johnson finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting, with seven threes. Schroeder, a former Hawks standout, scored 23 on 9-of-15 shooting and five 3s.

“I mean they got hot because I think we allowed it,” Hawks guard Dejounte Murray said. “They just got rhythm shots, nothing was really contested like it should have been or we weren’t physical like we should have been.”

3. When the Hawks tried to make up ground from their poor start, they leaned on Murray, who scored 14 of his 28 points in the second quarter.

“We tried to come back out, you know, try to compete,” Murray said.”

He hit a layup, a couple of midrange jumpers and two 3s to help finish the first half down only 56-50. The guard tried to attack the basket throughout the night but the Nets had plenty of time to set up their defense and they had time to contest shots he attempted.

4. With each game, Hawks rookie Kobe Bufkin has shown a growing level of comfort and confidence. In 19 minutes, Bufkin scored a career-high 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, with two 3-pointers. He also had three rebounds and three assists as he provided the Hawks with a spark of energy coming off the bench.

He made a driving floater down the lane before finding De’Andre Hunter for a jumper just over 50 seconds later. When the Hawks returned for the second quarter, Bufkin helped the Hawks space the floor and he helped get them on a 12-7 run that cut their 17-point deficit to 11 before he went to the bench.

“Yeah, I definitely feel more comfortable,” Bufkin said. “I think that’s just comes with playing.”

5. Though the Hawks sit three games ahead of the Nets in the standings, a win when they play again Saturday helps to give them just a little more security for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

On Thursday, the Hawks struggled to execute precisely and take even bigger advantage of the turnovers they forced. The Hawks blocked eight shots but converted on just one of those off a pair of free throws from Hunter.

Stat to know

68 -- Bogdan Bogdanovic made one 3, continuing a 68-game streak with at least one triple, the second-longest streak in franchise history behind Kyle Korver (127).


“I’m gonna continue to say there’s no excuses for us as individuals, competing because we can compete every single night at a high level. And that’s just playing hard.” Dejounte Murray on how the Hawks can adjust their next time out.

Up next

The Hawks face the Nets one final time in the regular season on Saturday in a matinee game at 3 p.m. at the Barclays Center.