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The Atlanta Hawks host the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of the First Round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs.
The Hawks’ 99-92 win this past Sunday was highlighted by an exceptionally well balanced attack that included a double-double from C Al Horford (10 points, 10 rebounds) along with a game-best 21 points from G Kyle Korver, who also led the Hawks in minutes played with 37. F DeMarre Carroll and G Jeff Teague also contributed with 17 points apiece.
But one of the keys to the Hawks’ victory over the Nets was their collectively incredible performance at the free throw line. The team went a whopping 21-of-22 for a 95.5% success rate. The Nets were unable to match the Hawks’ success at the line and went 15-for-22 for a 68.2% success rate. Additionally, the Hawks completed 33.3% of their 3-point attempts (10-of-30) while the Nets were only able to score 3-pointers on 25% of their attempts.
The Nets got a big performance by star C Brook Lopez, who recorded a double-double with a team-leading 17 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. But Forwards Joe Johnson and Thaddeus Young held the team back with Johnson going 6-17 on FGs and 0-for-6 on three-point attempts, while Young went 7-of-16 and missed his only three-point shot of the game. Their 11 and 9 missed FGs respectively were the most by any players in the game. Nets star G Deron Williams was barely a factor in the game, recording just 13 points.
Should the Nets find themselves in a 2-0 hole to the Hawks, they will almost assuredly lose the series. Historically speaking, 94% of teams that start 2-0 win the series – which would mean good things for the Hawks if they pull off the win in Game 2.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks – Could the Nets suddenly and magically turn on the heat in a critical Game 2 that could be the difference between them getting swept or not? Maybe. Can it happen if the Nets continue to struggle on free throws and three-pointers? Absolutely not. As long as the Hawks scoring over 90% from the FT line and over 30% of their three-pointers, they’ve pretty much got this one in the bag.