Brooklyn limped into the playoffs, going 2-3 in their last five regular season games and lost by an average of 17 ppg in four regular season games against the Hawks. But, once the playoffs start the slate is wiped clear and there’s a LOT more on the line.
Throughout the series, the Hawks have been plagued by issues with defensive rotation, rebounding, and most importantly effort. A few personnel issues (wing defender, defensive big) I outlined back in November have been glaring in this series. The Nets have the size advantage with Brook Lopez as an anchor in the post, and last night’s explosion from Deron Williams (35 pts, 7ast) highlighted the fact the Hawks are missing a key defensive contributor in Thabo Sefolosha (out, NYPD) on the perimeter.
Ultimately, last night’s game came down to a couple unlucky bounces. Kyle Korver had some great opportunities to tie the game in overtime and couldn’t knock the shot down. It happens, I can’t really be mad at that. Now the lack of effort is another thing. It Saturday’s game, the Hawks came out slow and the lack of intensity was a major reason for their loss.
After inconsistent performances in Game 3 and 4, I expect the Hawks to handily win the final two games.
Those lapses in defense and effort were all an aberration…