The Atlanta Hawks made a habit of starting quickly and then fading in their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. That led to a bunch of closer than expected games and even two losses in the 1 vs. 8 matchup.
In Game 6 in Brooklyn on Friday night, the Hawks once again started fast, but then once again followed up a big first quarter with a poor second. Only this time, Atlanta’s starters said “enough was enough” and put any doubt to rest with a huge third quarter in a 111-87 beating to finally eliminate Brooklyn.
Leading by six points at the break, the Hawks put up 41 points in the third quarter to turn that six-point lead into a 26-point lead heading into the final quarter. The fourth quarter became a mere formality at that point. Paul Millsap scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter, while Kyle Korver hit three of his six triples in the frame. Korver finished with 20 points. DeMarre Carroll added 20 points and Al Horford 18, and although Jeff Teague didn’t make a single shot, he finished with 13 assists.
Thus ended a highly competitive series that, for a moment, appeared to be slipping away from Atlanta. The Hawks were in control of Game 5 before nearly blowing another late lead, but they executed well down the stretch to take command of the series and then finished the job on Friday.
The Washington Wizards are up next for Atlanta, and that matchup is looking a whole lot more intriguing after the Wizards dominated their first-round series and the Hawks struggled in theirs. It should be a good one.
As for the Nets, congrats on another mediocre season!:
That’s truly setting the bar high.