Hawks pick up crucial win in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Millsap posted 27 points and 10 rebounds, Jeff Teague scored 22 points, and the Atlanta Hawks moved a step closer towards sewing up a playoff spot with a 93-88 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
The win reduced the Hawks' magic number to one for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference with three remaining in the regular season, while stopping the Nets' franchise-record 15-game home win streak in the process.
Additionally, the result clinched the Atlantic Division for Toronto and ensured that Brooklyn will be no better than a No. 5 seed in the upcoming conference playoffs.
"I'm glad this streak is over with," said Nets guard Joe Johnson. "Let's start another one for another month and a half, two months."
Mason Plumlee had 17 points off the bench in the Nets' first setback at the Barclays Center since Jan. 31. Marcus Thornton added 14 points for Brooklyn, which played without point guard Deron Williams due to a sore knee.
Both Millsap and Teague came up big down the stretch of a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands four times. The former delivered a nifty reverse baseline layup that gave the Hawks an 89-88 edge with just over two minutes remaining, and Teague sank a pair from the line after Thornton misfired from long range to extend the margin to three with 1:46 left.
The Nets failed to score the rest of the way, with Paul Pierce missing two free throws with 1:32 to go and the team coming up empty on its next two possessions before Teague sealed it with a driving runner with 19.3 seconds on the clock.
"The focus that it took to lock in, compete and to get this win, it says a lot," said Millsap. "Guys want to win, guys want to try to make this push."
Atlanta had opened up an 11-point advantage behind a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter, but Thornton and Plumlee directed a 15-6 sequence that brought Brooklyn within 70-68 with two minutes left in the period.
The Hawks put up six straight points to go up 87-81 with under 4 1/2 minutes to play, but a Johnson 3-pointer ignited a 7-0 Nets flurry that Plumlee capped with a layup and free throw that gave the hosts an 88-87 edge with 2:22 remaining.
Down by eight with seven minutes left in the first half, Atlanta reversed the momentum with a 16-4 run sparked by Teague, who netted eight points during the surge and capped it with a 3-point play that put the Hawks up 42-38 with 3:55 to go in the second quarter.
Pierce knocked down a trey on the ensuing possession, but the Hawks scored nine of the next 11 points to build a 51-43 lead with a minute left in the half. They went into the break owning a 55-47 advantage, with Teague's 14 points leading the way.
Brooklyn ended a slow-paced opening quarter on an 8-2 push to own a 23-16 lead at period's end, and was ahead by as many as nine points early in the second.
Guard Shaun Livingston (sprained toe) and swingman Alan Anderson (sore abdominal) also sat out for Brooklyn in addition to Williams ... Pierce, who missed Wednesday's loss in Orlando with a hip pointer, had 13 points to surpass 25,000 for his career ... DeMarre Carroll netted a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta ... The Hawks will host defending NBA champion Miami on Saturday.
04/11 23:12:22 ET