The Brooklyn Nets held their own on home court, now they must win on the road to give the No.1 seed the Atlanta Hawks a real problem in this first-round series.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta.
When: Thursday April 30, 00:00 (UK time)
Coming into this series it was expected that the Hawks would potentially sweep their rivals in the opening round and make quick work of a Nets side that struggled for consistency in the regular season.
After dropping the first two games, Brooklyn were apparently sticking to the form book, but they have fought back in Games 3 and 4 to tie up the series and put their rivals under pressure.
Deron Williams and Brook Lopez look re-energised and confident, with the former scoring a playoff career-high 35 points in the last encounter which included hitting seven 3-pointers.
The Nets are certainly rallying around one another and enjoying their tag as the underdogs, but if they are to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, they will need to defeat Atlanta at the Philips Arena.
That is undoubtedly easier said than done given that Mike Budenholzer’s side went 35-6 at home in the regular season, but they have shown a vulnerability in the last two games and it shouldn’t be completely ruled out.
Lopez has three double-doubles in this series and is seemingly winning his battle inside against Al Horford, but there is no panic in the Hawks camp as they regroup and look to put things straight again on Wednesday night.
Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap are all putting up numbers, and with no stand-out superstar to lead them, they will trust in the process and system that has been in place all year to get them out of their current situation.
They will need to improve on both ends of the court if they are to advance, but first off they need to protect home court otherwise heading back to Brooklyn with the series on the line could spell disaster.
Prediction: Hawks at home will continue to be too strong for the Nets and they will pick up the win.