Atlanta Hawks #1 vs. Brooklyn Nets #8
Why Atlanta will win: Chemistry and shared responsibility, they have the 2nd highest assist percentage in the NBA, (19.8%). The Atlanta Hawks are the rare team where it seems like every player on their roster has the same amount invested in the overall success of the team, a true “Co-op”, where all 12 guys share in the success and failures alike. Their leading scorer Paul Milsap (16.7 PPG) leads their balanced attack, where it seems like Jeff Teague, Al Hofford or Kyle Korver can carry this team for stretches when their high powered attack slows a bit. The unheralded speedy PG Dennis Schroder and do everything defender DeMarre Carrol aren’t big names but make a HUGE impact for this team in changing the tempo of the game.
-The Hawks are tied for 6th in the NBA in offense (106.2 Points per 100 possessions)
-The Hawks are 7th in defense (100.7 points allowed per 100 possessions)
-The Hawks play at the 15th fastest pace in the league (96.2 possessions per game).
Why Brooklyn will win: Simple, they get HOT from 3 or the Atlanta bus gets lost on the way to the arena. This team has elite level talent, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, but they’ve severely underperformed during the regular season. If Deron Williams and Joe Johnson can summon top level energy this series can get interesting, but that’s a big if. Another big if: can Mason Plumlee, Jarett Jack and Thaddeus Young make big contributions in a game or two to swing this series in Brooklyn’s favor?
-Brooklyn is 18th in offense (101.9 point per 100 possessions)
-Brooklyn ranks 24th in defense (105 points allowed per 100 possessions)
-Brooklyn plays at the NBA’s 24th slowest pace (95 possessions per game). Ladies and gentleman, Lionel Hollins!!!
Prediction: Atlanta 4-1