The Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday return home to host the Atlanta Hawks for the 2nd time in a month, but the Hawks present a stiffer challenge this time around.
The last time the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Atlanta Hawks, the Nets hung up a season-high 144 points in a blowout victory.
That loss to the Nets on Dec. 16 dropped the Hawks back into sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference at 6-23.
But any thoughts Atlanta (12-28) will be an easy mark Wednesday night at Barclays Center should be dispelled by the Hawks play of late — they are 6-5 since that last meeting with Brooklyn and pushed the East-leading Toronto Raptors to the limit north of the border Tuesday night before falling 104-101.
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The Nets (20-22) come off a blowout loss of their own Monday night at Boston, but are likely to have Joe Harris and DeMarre Carroll back after both players sat out the 116-95 loss to the Celtics with minor nicks.
Brooklyn gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race without playing Tuesday, moving back into seventh place when the Charlotte Hornets were blown out on the West Coast by the LA Clippers, 128-109.
The Nets are once again percentage points ahead of the eighth-place Hornets (19-21) and climbed to within a half-game of the sixth-place Miami Heat (19-20), who lost at home to the Denver Nuggets, 103-99.
The Detroit Pistons (17-21) and Orlando Magic (17-23) did not play and remain one and two games, respectively, behind Brooklyn.
And the Nets have been playing well since beating the Hawks the last time, as well, going 7-4 to move up three spots in the standings from 10th to seventh.
On the injury front for Atlanta, guard Kent Bazemore has missed the last five games and is out for at least another two weeks with a sprained right ankle, while rookie wing Kevin Huerter sat out the loss in Toronto with mid-back pain.
Taurean Prince, who was averaging 15 points per game before going down with a sprained left ankle on Dec. 3, is a game-time decision. He’s missed the Hawks’ last 16 games.
Here are three things to watch when the Hawks and Nets clash Wednesday.