Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Brooklyn Nets (34-25) at Atlanta Hawks (30-30)

When they returned from the All-Star break, the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks produced distinct outcomes. When the teams meet for the third time this season on Sunday at Atlanta, how they respond could set the tone for the rest of the season.

After defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday by a score of 136-119, Atlanta coach Nate McMillan was let go during the break. That kept the Hawks at No. 1 and ended their two-game losing streak. Eighth in the East Conference.

In its 131-87 defeat to the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Brooklyn, which acquired two well-known players before the deadline for trades, struggled greatly. No, the Nets. 5 in the East, but have failed to win their last six games.

The Nets have used the starting five of newcomers Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Dorian Finney-Smith, along with holdover Nic Claxton, in each of the last four games since trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the deadline.

Bridges has scored 22.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game since joining the team, while Dinwiddie has scored 14.6 points per game, Johnson has scored 13.5 points per game, and Finney-Smith has scored 5.4 points per game.

Coming off the bench, Joe Harris has been crucial to the new Nets’ success. The veteran has scored 10.6 points per game over the past five contests and is shooting 16-for-30 (53 percent) from three-point range. He has scored 8.5 points per game this season.

Trae Young of Atlanta stated that his team benefited from a break.

Atlanta defeated the Cavaliers by scoring 49 points in the second quarter. In the franchise’s history, it was the third-highest scoring quarter. At halftime, the Hawks had scored a season-high 81 points.

The longest such streak in NBA history occurred when the Hawks scored at least 100 points in 35 games. Cleveland led the league in points allowed at 100.6 going into the game.

According to published reports, Atlanta is close to hiring Quin Snyder, the former coach of the Utah Jazz, to take McMillan’s place. Lead assistant Joe Prunty, who led the team to victory on Friday, will serve as the team’s coach until then.

The first meeting has been won by Brooklyn, 108-107 on December 28 in Atlanta. On March 31, Brooklyn will host the final match.

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