On Friday night, top-seeded Atlanta Hawks ousted No. 8 seed Brooklyn Nets by pulling off a 111-87 Game 6 win in Brooklyn, although Atlanta currently holds the league’s most expensive roster.
Nets point guard Deron Williams acknowledged after the game that the Hawks were simply better than his team at that moment. Moreover, for Brooklyn the season is over after only two games in which the club managed to cancel a 2-0 deficit and renew their fans’ hopes for a victory.
Williams also noted that his team’s rivals managed to stay together, focus, and figure out how to play consistently unlike Brooklyn players who failed to pull themselves together. Although Brooklyn’s core involved very valuable assets such as Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, reuniting its starting five only recently contributed to its recent downfall.
Brooklyn was able to easily pull off nine wins of 13 season games, but its inexperience as a united team deprived it of a Game 6 win in the playoff series. And that is a shame if we think about the money that was invested in the club’s roster. During 2014-2015, the team spent more than $100 million in payroll and other expenses, while in 2013-2014, that sum was much larger ($192 million). On that season however, Brooklyn made it to the second round where it was blasted by the Miami Heat.
Brooklyn coach seemed to have resigned himself to the situation. He said that “it wasn’t to be” and that Atlanta was a superior team and managed to proved it.
After giving everything they got in Game 5, Atlanta started forcefully in Game 6 and earned a 36-23 lead in the first quarter. Still, in the second quarter, the Lopez-Williams-Johnson trio were able to put the Nets back on track, only to see Atlanta gaining a 51-45 lead by halftime and a 92-66 lead by the final quarter.
Lopez scored a team-high 19 points, Williams had 13, while Johnson earned 12. Bojan Bogdanovic and Alan Anderson, on the other hand, displayed disappointing results – eight, respectively 6 points. However, Anderson’s meager 6 points were a surprise to anyone after his wonderful 23-point performance in Game 5.
MVP-wannabe DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points, Atlanta power forward pulled off 25, shooting guard Kyle Korver added 20, while center Al Horford finished with 18. Jeff Teague struggled with a scoring drought, but managed to finish with 13 assists.
But there were more problems that affected Brooklyn’s performance on Friday night than just lacking team cohesion, including a slow start, poor turnover ratio, and its hopes that Lopez alone could carry the whole team and secure a win. On Friday night, Lopez failed to score in the crucial last six minutes.
Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins explained that Lopez needed to recover from the Game 5 loss in Atlanta, where he was forced to play 39 minutes. On the other hand, Mason Plumlee’s poor play influenced even more the final outcome because he allowed Atlanta to easily foul him after making only two out of eight free throws. As a result, he was allowed to play only 9 minutes in Game 6, so Lopez had to do the rest and stay on court another 35, although he was visibly tired.
Image Source: Washington Times