The Hawks fell once again to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, and they will return to Atlanta with the series tied at 2-2. The Hawks fell to the Nets 120-115 in an overtime thriller. While this series is far from over, it is quite concerning that the Hawks are having trouble with an 8 seed team that finished the season with a 38-44 record. Why are the Hawks having so much trouble? Let’s take a look at our takeaways from Monday night’s game.
Deron Williams Played Out of his Mind
Deron Williams played unbelievable basketball Monday night, playing like he did back in his days with the Utah Jazz. D-Will dropped 35 points on 13-for-25 shooting. This included making 7 of his 11 3-point attempts. One of these shots was an absurd deep 3-pointer late in the fourth that kept Brooklyn in the game. He also added 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. This performance came out of nowhere, as Williams was only able to compile 5 points total in Games 2 and 3 of the series. However, Jeff Teague had no answer for him Monday night. Jarrett Jack has killed the Hawks at times this series as well, and the point guards are going to have to play lock-down defense from here on out to win this series. However, I also think it should be pointed out that the Nets barely got by the Hawks despite Williams’ incredible performance. This is an unsustainable level of play for the former superstar, and without Williams’ performance the Nets would likely be down 3-1 when returning to Phillips Arena for Wednesday’s showdown.
The Hawks Owned the Boards
The only real positive that came from Game 4 for Atlanta is that they finally dominated the boards. The Hawks outrebounded the Nets 55 to 40, with 18 of those coming off the offensive glass compared to Brooklyn’s 11. It was a team effort on the glass, as even Kyle Korver brought in 11 rebounds. Paul Millsap had a double-double of his own while reeling in 12 rebounds. Paul Millsap and Al Horford appear to be itching closer to 100% health, and if the Hawks can continue their rebounding success when they return to Phillips Arena, the Nets are in trouble.
Al Horford Has to Stay Out of Foul Trouble
Al Horford didn’t get to see the floor nearly as much as he would have liked to Monday, only playing in 31 minutes throughout the game. Brook Lopez has been a headache for Horford all series, and Big Al has found himself in foul trouble trying to keep up. Horford had to sit out a lot down the stretch in the 4th quarter because he had 5 fouls. Due to this, Pero Antic saw extended minutes (17), and while the Macedonian is actually playing his best basketball all season in the Playoffs, he’s by no means Al Horford. Meanwhile, Lopez dropped 26 points and reeled in 10 boards. Horford seems to be making progress from his pinky injury that has been affecting his shot, as he made 8-of-13 shots in Game 4. However, Atlanta’s heart and soul will have to stay on the floor if they want to close this series, especially with Brook Lopez as their opposition.