The Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks 91-83 on Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center in Game 3 of their first round series to cut the Hawks’ lead in the series to 2-1. Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins and Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer spoke after the game.
Hollins said of the game, “We had outstanding energy and effort. In the end, we had some adversity where they came back and took the lead. We were down two at a timeout, we called a play, they executed, we scored, tied it back up and then we went up like 67-60 and from that point on, we had control of the game again. Our defense and our effort were just outstanding. In the beginning, our energy was outstanding and we just came ready to play. It was a great win to get a playoff win against this team, who is an outstanding team and have been playing well. You know, when you look at it, it’s playoff basketball. We shot 39 percent and they shot 36 percent from the field. I looked at the stats and I was like, ‘how did we win?’ They had 25 fastbreak points to 2. They had 50 points in the paint to our 30. We made some threes, and we made our free throws, and I thought our defense, especially down the stretch, was outstanding. When you make hustle plays and you make teams miss on the break and then you got the ball and come back, that’s huge as tight as the games are. I thought Thad (Young) bounced back and played extremely well. Joe (Johnson) didn’t want to come out of the game just for a little bit of rest. Those three guys – Brook (Lopez)m Thad, and Joe – all yeoman minutes, but in the second half, in the third quarter, after we lost the lead I made up my mind that I was going with those guys and I was going to piecemeal rest them and I did. They were able to get the win. Down the stretch, when I took Brook out and went small, we executed defensively three different times, which was huge out of timeouts where they tried to run a play where they back-screened to the corner. We got that one. We got another one knocked out of bounds. We switched and we didn’t foul and we didn’t give up threes.”
Hollins said of the Nets’ defense holding Atlanta under 40 percent shooting from the field, “It’s just hustle. It’s hustle. They held us under 40 percent too, so both teams are scrapping and clawing. It’s just a good series. We’re only halfway to where we need to be, and they just need one win to go back home, so it’s important that we come out with the same effort, the same energy, the same execution on Monday (Game 4).”
Hollins said of shutting down Kyle Korver (2 points) and the Hawks’ offense, “It was a team – we just played well. You know, we were ready for him coming off screens. Then, he (Korver) had a couple of open shots that he missed. When you scramble on a team that hard, that consistently – and we’ve done it too – when you get open, you’re rushing your shot a little bit. I thought we kept the ball out of the paint really good, and we got loose balls. When you don’t get loose balls, they pick them up and they throw them back out. I thought DeMarre Carroll did an outstanding job offensively at making shots, and keeping them in the game – he and Paul Millsap. Overall, I thought it was a great game and we were just fortunate enough to get the win and I’m thankful.”
Hollins said of Bojan Bogdanovic’s energy, “Bogey hit some big shots early and got us going, and then he hit a big shot later on. He took Korver and pulled him up, and made a shot in the lane to keep us going. You know, he’s been playing well for a long time, and he just didn’t shoot the ball well in Atlanta, but he came home and he was ready. He shot the ball extremely well. I thought one of the big plays in the game was Jarrett Jack’s three at the top of the key. They tried to go under when Joe (Johnson) was playing 4 and Millsap and (Jeff) Teague were struggling to get him, and were playing cat and mouse, and Jarrett Jack pulled up and shot a three. You know, that kind of gave us that sigh of relief like, ‘okay, we can carry this on home.”
Hollins said of the play of Jarrett Jack in the series, “Jarrett’s been good this whole series. He didn’t score tonight, but he facilitated very well when we put him in. We were a little loose, and he brought some poise and composure back to us and he made some good decisions. You know, I like it when everybody’s doing good and then our point guards just facilitate it to the right people. That’s important.”
Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said of the game, “Give Brooklyn a lot of credit for how they played tonight. I think they came out with great energy. They were very good in the first quarter, they created some separation. We were able to come back and close that gap and take the lead but Brooklyn went on another run. I think overall our defense, with the exception of the first quarter; we need to play defensively like we did in the second, third, and fourth quarter. And then offensively, I think it’s a combination, Brooklyn doing some things well. We need to finish some shots. We need to make some shots or we’ll end up with the efficiency like where it was tonight. I give a lot of credit to Brooklyn and we’ll be ready for Game 4.”
Budenholzer said of what Brooklyn was doing well in Game 3, “Brooklyn is contesting shots well, I would say. They are making a lot of looks difficult. Occasionally, we got some good looks and we weren’t getting those to go down. I think Brooklyn’s contest and their effort to get to our shooters and just make our looks more difficult. I think they are contesting and getting to us. I think they came out with a lot of energy and a lot of activity and they forced some turnovers. I don’t think our rhythm, our pace,and all of those things that we do; I don’t think we started well and I think they had something to do with that. So I think we need to come out better in the first quarter on Monday.”