The Brooklyn Nets will try to build off a winning road trip when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon in the front half of a home-and-home set. Wednesday’s 109-104 victory at Dallas gave the Nets a 2-1 mark on the trip, with the lone loss coming at Western Conference-leading Houston.
The solid finish against the Mavericks came with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) out for the second straight game and fellow starter Allen Crabbe (back) sidelined for the third consecutive time. “I feel like we’re coming together as a group,” coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. “When you have guys out, I think everybody realizes that anybody can contribute.” While Brooklyn was succeeding away from home, the Hawks are coming off a 1-3 homestand capped by Thursday’s 121-114 loss to the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta shot 51.9 percent - its second-highest mark from the floor this season - but allowed the Cavaliers to do the same and couldn’t keep pace in the second half while falling to 2-12 against the East.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE HAWKS (4-17): Dennis Schroder scored 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the loss to Cleveland and finally got some support from veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova. The 30-year-old from Turkey, who has missed nine games due to knee issues and entered Thursday’s contest shooting 28.3 percent from the floor, scored a season-high 22 points while making 4-of-6 3-pointers and chipping in a season-high four steals. “One of Ersan’s best games on both ends of the court,” coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. “Taking charges, getting rebounds, saving balls. Just a lot of good things. And obviously, when he makes shots, it’s huge for us. It’s great to see him play like that.”
ABOUT THE NETS (8-13): DeMarre Carroll is averaging 23 points while making 8-of-13 3-pointers over his last two games and he has avoided the team-wide struggles at the foul line by making 10-of-11 attempts. “It might be mental at this point,” Carroll told the media after his team went 14-for-25 at the charity stripe versus Dallas. “We can’t be a really good team missing free throws like that and I think we will, but we got to get in the gym, take it upon ourselves individually to knock down free throws.” Brooklyn entered Friday ranked 26th in the league with a 72.8 percent effort at the line, but that number is below 70 percent over the last 10 games.
1. Nets PF Trevor Booker recorded two of his four double-doubles this season during the three-game road trip.
2. Schroder is averaging 25.8 points and shooting 59.4 percent in four wins, compared to 18.6 and 42.2 in 15 losses.
3. Crabbe scored a game-high 20 points in 26 minutes as Brooklyn won the first meeting Oct. 22 at home.
PREDICTION: Nets 114, Hawks 106