It wasn’t but a week ago that many were wondering if it was time to start worrying about the Brooklyn Nets’ inability to beat championship-contending teams this season?
The Nets had an 0-6 record against teams they would likely face in the playoffs. On opening night, they got pummelled by the defending champs and then, they beat the 76ers a few nights later but since then have lost to Charlotte, Miami, Chicago (twice), Golden State and Phoenix.
Friday night’s win against a dangerous Hawks team, in Atlanta, may not silence all the doubters immediately, but it will go a long way to quieting the noise surrounding that particular (unwanted) stat.
Brooklyn has now won eight of their last eleven and improved to 18-8 with the 113-105 win in Atlanta. They are now 10-3 on the road this season with the victory.
Once again, however, the Nets had to overcome a double-digit lead to the Hawks to win. This is the third time on their road trip they’ve had to do so. At one stage in the third quarter, head coach Steve Nash had to call a timeout to regroup with his team down 73-62 at the time.
Post-game, James Harden joked it wasn’t ideal, but pointed out the team’s ability to draw deep within itself to muster a comeback.
“That’s not a good thing,” he said laughing. Then added, “We never give up.”
The Nets keyed their run from the defensive end of the floor. They held the Hawks – a team that has the third-best offensive rating in the league – to just 39 percent shooting from the floor for the game. Brooklyn held the Hawks to just 14 fourth-quarter points, which comes on the back of only allowing the Mavericks 13 points in the fourth on Tuesday – which was the last game the Nets played at full strength.
“I wish we could play like that for four quarters,” said Harden, who finished with 20 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds. “When it’s time to win a game we do whatever it takes to win. Tonight was another example of it.”