Brooklyn Nets vs Atlanta Hawks Preview: Brooklyn Could Avoid A Seeding Ruckus


Jan. 18, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson (7) looks to pass around Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver (26) during the second half at Barclays Center. Nets won 94-89. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

After a big win over Washington, the Nets travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks. This game has a bit of playoff implications, as a loss could push Brooklyn back to the 5th seed, and just a half game above six seed Boston and seven seed Atlanta. Brooklyn is 6-4 in their last ten games, while Atlanta is 5-5. The season series is currently tied at 1-1, and if Brooklyn wants to get even more of an advantage, a win here would give them the regular season series lead, and that could help them in tiebreakers at the end of the season.

Key Advanced Stats

Offensive Efficiency: Brooklyn (12th), Atlanta (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: Brooklyn (16th), Atlanta (10th)
Opponent Effective Field-Goal Percentage: Brooklyn (21st), Atlanta (15th)
Turnover Rate: Brooklyn (27th), Atlanta (26th)


Brooklyn: None

Atlanta: Ivan Johnson (Finger, day-to-day), and Zaza Pachulia (Achilles, day-to-day)


Deron Williams vs. Jeff Teague

Last ten games: Williams (21.5 points, 8.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 45.2 FG%) and Teague (15.4 points, 8.7 assists, 1.7 steals 42.9 FG%)

Deron Williams was simply on fire against Washington, going with 42 points and 11 three-pointers. That matchup was against John Wall; Jeff Teague is an entirely different force. Teague’s currently a better defensive player, and that will factor into Williams’ performance. Look for Williams to get a ton of shots, but the odds of him having another performance like the one on Friday are very slim. Advantage: Williams

Joe Johnson vs. Devin Harris

Last ten games: Johnson (17.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 45.2 FG%) and Harris (10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 44.9 FG%)

Should be a no-contest. Not only should Johnson be able to take advantage of Harris on the perimeter, but also his 6-7, 230 pound frame should allow Johnson to muscle him in the low-post. The intrigue is how Harris will be on the offensive end. If Harris commits Johnson to defend him from working to the basket, things can get interesting, but for the most part, Johnson should win the matchup on the offensive end. Advantage: Johnson

Gerald Wallace vs. Josh Smith

Last ten games: Wallace (7.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.5 steals, 35.6 FG%) and Smith (17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 blocks, 46.5%)

Both Wallace and Smith are nice small forwards. However, Smith is the better one, purely off his ability to score the basketball. For Wallace, his best bet is to force Smith into a ton of long-twos, and that will weaken Smith’s effectiveness. For Wallace, getting Smith to shoot under 50%, and getting him to disrupt Atlanta’s offense with terrible jumpers could be a huge victory, but I envision Smith battling down low for offensive shots, and that could spell trouble for Brooklyn, and their defense. Advantage: Smith

Reggie Evans vs. Al Horford

Last ten games: Evans (2.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 25.0 FG%) and Horford (24.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.8 blocks, 63.2 FG%)

No contest. Al Horford should be able to oppose his will. Reggie Evans won’t be much of a factor on the offensive end, but he should grab eight to ten rebounds and contest a handful of shots. Advantage: Horford

Brook Lopez vs. Johan Petro

Last ten games: Lopez (18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.9 blocks, 50.7 FG%) and Petro (2.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 33.3 FG%)

Brook Lopez should be able to dominate this matchup, but I’m a bit concerned that he’s been settling for mid-range jumpers. In his past five games, Lopez has attempted 24 shots outside of 15 feet. This should be a statement game in getting the ball in the post for Lopez, thus allowing him to have his way with Johan Petro, who’s an infamous stiff. Advantage: Lopez

Prediction: Nets 93, Hawks 87