Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Short takes: Hawks off-target, lose and give Nets hope

NEW YORK -- Forget the sweep. The Hawks had a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven, first-round playoff series against Brooklyn, but they stomped out all hope for a quick series with Saturday's 91-83 loss to the Nets. I'll have a column on the game posted later. Until then, here are my three "short takes."


1. STILL IN CONTROL, BUT... This is not a game the Hawks want to play. Kyle Korver himself said the team would be "playing with fire" if they went into game three with a mindset of just splitting two games in Brooklyn. Now the Nets have new life. They gave effort, they were strong defensively and they have held serve with a win. Win again Monday night and the series is tied. The Hawks gave a defeated team hope, partly because they showed little rhythm offensively, shot so poorly from the outside, missed layups and turned the ball over too often early. The Hawks shot 32 for 90 (35.5 percent) from the floor.

2. BACKCOURT PROBLEMS: The only Hawks' player who shot well was DeMarre Carroll (9 for 12). The rest of the team was 23 for 78. But the biggest issues were in the back court. Kyle Korver seemed invisible at times and made only one of eight attempts, including 0-for-5 from three-point range. Jeff Teague was 4-for-13 and Dennis Schroder was 1-for-9. The sum of those three: 6-for-30. Credit Brooklyn for some good defense but they missed a lot of open shots.

3. BROOKLYN, THE FORGOTTEN ONE: When the Nets moved to Brooklyn, they believed they would have a more passionate fan base than they had in New Jersey. But it hasn't happened, at least in part because the team has underachieved relative to its perceived star value. The Nets ranked a few notches down the sports pecking order in the New York-New Jersey area, behind the Yankees-Mets weekend series, the Rangers and Islanders both being in the NHL playoffs and even the buildup to the NFL draft. Barclays Center was an estimated 40 percent full at tip. By the second half, most seats were filled, although some suites remained empty, and it was easy to wonder whether there was an unofficial ticket distribution going on outside the doors.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.