The Brooklyn Nets are riding high after their ten point victory the night before against the Orlando Magic; can they ride that momentum to another victory over the Atlanta Hawks or will they be exhausted from the night before?
Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker had big performances while Jeremy Lin continued his recent struggles from the floor. Hopefully against big brother, Lin can find his footing to end the season on a high note. The last time these teams met, Brooklyn was able to walk away with a 107-92 victory behind 23 points from Brook and 19 from Lin.
If Brooklyn wants to beat Atlanta again they will need to keep Dennis Schroder in check, run Dwight Howard all over the floor, and exploit some of Atlanta’s younger/inexperienced players.
Jeremy Lin has always struggled containing quick guards that thrive on driving the lane, Dennis Schroder has been no exception. In previous matchups this season, Schroder has scored 24 and 31 points against Lin. To ensure shutting down Schroder, Brooklyn should switch on screens and try to have LeVert shade over given he has a favorable matchup in an inexperienced Prince. If this doesn’t leave Price too exposed or switch Lin onto someone like Howard, then it could really slow someone like Schroder down.
Outside of Schroder the next biggest threat is Dwight Howard. The former all-star has been enjoying a good season on his new team and with Paul Millsap out, he will be tasked with trying to take on a primary scoring role. Fortunately for Brooklyn, he is extremely on dimensional. Brook should have no trouble defending Howard in the paint but if the Nets want to truly eliminate him, they need to prevent the Hawks from running in transition.
Brook can handle most centers in the low post and Howard doesn’t have advanced low post moves. He thrives in the pick and roll and in transition. He should also take Howard to the three point line as often as possible, if nothing else to put him out of position and make him run all over the court to cover him to the three point line.
Lastly, Brooklyn needs to go at young players like Prince and guys that are playing larger roles than they are used to like Ilyasova. Prince has showed promise in limited playing time but he is still a rookie. LeVert will be able to handle anything he can throw at him while also matching up nicely with him offensively.
The key to beating Ilyasova is similar to beating Howard, make him run around and tire him out. He is used to playing a much smaller role, so making him work every minute he is on the floor will be a nice way tire him out in a hurry.