The Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks 120-115 in overtime in Game 4 of their first-round series on Monday night at Barclays Center to even the series at two games apiece. Here is what Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins and the players had to say afterwards.
Hollins said of the win, “To me, this is what playing this sport is all about. We came out, we took some shots and we battled back. It was a dog fight. They got up on us at halftime. They could have put us away, but we fought back at the end – only down, I think, seven going into halftime – and then in the second half just continued on with the same thing. They jumped up on us. I think they got it to 12, and we kept battling and then the small lineup took over. We had some big shots, some big steals. We were scrambling. The only thing that hurt us with the small lineup was rebounding, especially down in the end when they took two or three threes and they got the rebounds back. But other than that, I thought our guys really perked up and started competing and once we got the pace to our pace, I felt comfortable. I didn’t feel confident, I felt comfortable.
“And what can I say about D-Will (Deron Williams) and his game? And Brook (Lopez) started stepping up – he made some big plays down the end – and Joe (Johnson) made a couple of big shots. Thaddeus (Young) made one, Brook got one and a foul, Bogie (Bojan Bogdanovic) hit two threes, but also Deron’s shot at the shot clock, man. When he turned around and put it up, that was huge. We just kept making plays. At the end there, I thought we got a little stagnant and they were able to come up, I think we were up five or six – whatever it was – and they came back, tied it up and eventually it went into overtime. But after that, I’m sure everybody here got their money’s worth that came tonight and I’m glad we won, but that was a hell of a basketball game.”
Hollins said of going with the small lineup late in the third quarter, basically leaving Mason Plumlee on the bench, “Well, Brook got in foul trouble and he was tired, and we needed a change. We were stagnant and we were down 12, and we just started making steals, making threes. We came down to make two straight buckets. We almost had a third one. We drove to the basket, and then we got steals. It’s just something that sometimes your gut says, ‘what else is there to do?’ That was what came about in my gut, and fortunately for us, it worked.”
On the play call (Deron took a baseline jumper and missed) and mindset of the team at the end of regulation, Hollins said, “Well, the play was that I knew they had a foul to give and I wanted Deron to go early – we were just gonna slip out and go early and they didn’t foul us – to bring it back out and just run a play. But he got a good look at it and he did go in. That was the play that was designed for the foul. The mindset of the team headed into overtime was to go win the game. To go out there and keep competing and try to win the game, and fortunately for us, we did.”
Deron Williams scored 35 points on 13-for-25 from the field, including 7-11 behind the arc, with 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. He said of how he felt about his game on Monday night, “Well, I definitely played better tonight. I also want to keep being aggressive like this throughout the series. We evened it out. We’re playing better as a team. We’re figuring things out. so I just need to keep being aggressive like this.”
Williams said of his two three-pointers in the fourth quarter and the turnaround three, “Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened. I just know that the clock was winding down and I had to get a shot off. It felt good as soon as it left my hand, though.”
D-Will said to the question of if the Nets can win with him doing things other than scoring, “I had two points in Game 2, and we were right there. I thought we had chances to win the game. If I hit a couple of those shots, we probably would have won the game. I look at it both ways, where I was still getting people involved, still making an impact on the game but definitely hurting my team by not making open shots, not knocking down shots. So I looked at it like that as well.”
On if this was his signature moment as a Net, Williams said, “Obviously, when I was shooting around before the game in the back, I was just hoping I could get through the game. I felt pretty good, and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow after 45 minutes.”
Jarrett Jack said of what goes through his mind during a game like this one, “That was just the epitome of playoff basketball. It was a rollercoaster ride from the first quarter on through overtime. I think we just saw a resilient bunch that didn’t want to see their season slip away from them. We did everything in our power, effort wise, and guys made big shots. D-Will, huge game for him. He put his impriunt on this series, which I think was vital and crucial for us, especially going back into their building where they play really well. All we did was force a Game Six (in Brooklyn Friday night at 8:00 pm), now it’s just a best out of three.”
Jack said of making big runs late in the game, “Well, there were up six coming out of the break, so we knew we had some ground to make up, and with a team like them, if you give them a six-point lead, and then allow them to extend it to double digits, they’re a tough team to come back against. They take care of the basketball, they have guys who can make plays and capable guys from the perimeter that can knock down shots. We had to come out and hit first and I thought we did that in the first five minutes of the third quarter and it carried on to the fourth and into overtime.”
Jack said of the confidence of the team, “We always had that same confidence. Even when we were down 0-2 coming back into our building, we were a confident bunch, feeling that were were starting to get really familiar with their plays, their personnel, and that if we cleaned up some areas, we had the opportunity to be successful. We were able to do that these past two games, and now we’re sitting here even, we have to go down to their place and try to get one.”