Flatbush defends home court; Even series at two
Series tied 2-2
I - ATL 99; BKN 92
II - ATL 96; BKN 91
III - BKN 91; ATL 83
IV - BKN 120; ATL 115; OT
V - Wednesday Night
BROOKLYN NETS: Monday Might Have Been Flatbush's Finest Day in the NBA.
Three regular seasons have been spent getting re-acclimated to being a professional town again. The final wrinkles seem to be getting ironed out, as fans are finally feeling at home, in their home, with their team.
The team is presently in the midst of what is now Brooklyn's 4th ever playoff series, and may have finally struck their emotional resonance with the borough. The Nets and its fans - Barclays Center - arguably might not have had a better night in their three years together than on Monday.
On April 15th this team finished the regular season with a sub par 38-44 record; a considerable decrease from the 49 victories registered in their first season along Flatbush Avenue. That record included four failed attempts against the Atlanta Hawks.
- In December, the Nets were limited to just 75 points by the Hawks. On April 4th, the Hawks posted a 32-point margin of victory over the Nets in Atlanta, then visited Barclays Center four days later, and beat them again by a 114-111 score.
Despite their sub .500 record, the Nets qualified for the playoffs as a result of a weak field.
Then came another pair of fruitless attempts to defeat the Hawks in the series' opening two games in Atlanta. Both games were frustratingly winnable (aren't they all...), but the Nets nonetheless came up short, twice. Pretty standard stuff considering no one on TV, radio, or in the tabloids predicted otherwise.
No shot failed to hit its mark more than that of Deron Williams, both literally and figuratively.
He has long been relegated to coming off the bench by Lionel Hollins; the media has effectively written him off; fans have been dismayed with his continuing propensity for injury, and they are generally displeased with his overall deterioration of play since becoming a Net, to say the least.
After scoring 13 points during a representative effort in Game 1, Deron then registered two hotly debated performances.
In Game 2, he scored an alarming 2 points, but posted 10 rebounds and 8 assists during a tightly contested loss. In Game 3, he scored an equally confounding 3 points, but pulled down 7 boards and had 6 assists. The team, however, made their game winning push with him on the bench.
Williams was resoundingly criticized by the media for pulling a disappearing act, but Coach Hollins was not entertaining any of that, and in fact became irritated at the suggestion and chastised the entire pool of reporters.
On the one hand, you can't help but be empathetic to Deron's plight. There is no denying the man plays hurt and doesn't make any excuse of it. Joe Johnson offered that Williams is presently playing with severe tendinitis.
On the other hand, he was brought here, and handed over a large sum of money to be the franchise player, be their best player, and ideally lead this team through numerous playoff runs. The results, so far, speak for themselves.
With their second straight victory at Barclays in Game 4, the Nets tied the series at two. This is now a best 2 out of 3 games affair.
On April 14th, no one would have believed the Nets could be in this position. The New Year turnarounds enjoyed in two previous seasons by P.J. Carlessimo and Jason Kidd during their time here was a period of disjointed play and force adjustments for Lionel Hollins.
But, the Brooklyn Nets just might have found the best time imaginable to finally get in lock step with their coach.
Deron Williams scored 35 points in 46-minutes during Monday's 120-115 overtime victory at Barclays. He pulled down 5 defensive rebounds, had 7 assists, and 3 steals.
The crowd also handed in what was by far their best performance to date.
The Nets have achieved equal ground - albeit heading to Atlanta. The Eastern Conference's #8 team is now tied with the #1 team in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The Hawks also have absolutely no answer for Brook Lopez.
This all sort of wipes the slate clean, no?