Nets vs. Hawks: Brooklyn Brings a Turnaround in Sunday Against Atlanta

Rookie forward Rodions Kurucs made his first NBA start on Friday night with Allen Crabbe out with a knee injury. The rookie forward has seen his role grow steadily over the last two weeks.

"Rodi's been great all year, honestly," said Joe Harris. "It's just his energy when he comes off the bench, you know he's going to play hard. You know he's going to make hustle plays. The amount of times that he just gets the 50-50 balls, just happens to put himself in the right spot. He's a great defender, athletic offensively, great at attacking the rim and again, he just provides a lot of energy for us."

Kurucs posted a career-high 15 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 13 points from two nights earlier in Philadelphia. He added six rebounds and shot 5-for-6 from the field.

"Thirty minutes. I thought he hit two big shots when we were struggling, I believe in the third quarter," said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. "He hit a long two and then a three. We were struggling and they were starting to come back. Just all around, his energy and his athleticism is a big plus. He just keeps doing it, keeps surprising."


The Nets bring a four-game winning streak into Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Brooklyn locker room had a far different feel on Friday after a 125-118 win over the Washington Wizards than it did a week earlier, when the Nets brought an eight-game winning streak to work.

They snapped that skid with an overtime win against the team with the NBA's best record, the Toronto Raptors, and followed that with wins against the Knicks, Sixers, and Wizards.

In each of those subsequent three wins, the Nets held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, faced a rally, and shut it down. It was something they had been able to do during their two-week slide.

"We tried to take those negative experiences and learn from it, trying as much as you can to turn it into a positive," said Joe Harris. "You're in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, it gets pretty dark. But the great thing about the NBA is everything happens so quickly. You play eight games, that's two weeks. You're able to kind of get out of a funk, right the ship and just do a better job of executing down the stretch. I think obviouisly you never want to lose eight games in a row, but what we've learned in those eight games has helped us finish and execute here as of late."


Spencer Dinwiddie has taken his season to a new level over the last week. His 27-point night against the Wizards on Friday followed a career-high 39 points against the Sixers on Wednesday. Against the Knicks last Saturday, Dinwiddie had 25.

Over his last six games, Dinwiddie is averaging 23.8 points and shooting 52.5 percent.

"He's just doing an excellent job of imposing his will on teams," said Joe Harris. "His aggressiveness offensively opens up everything for guys on the floor, including himself. He's just doing an excellent job of facilitating, whether it's creating a shot for himself or for someone else."


The Atlanta Hawks are 6-21 and have lost five of their last six games. Atlanta's top two scorers are second-year forward John Collins (18.3 ppg) and rookie guard Trae Young (15.7). Collins also leads Atlanta with 9.0 rebounds and shoots 59.9 percent from the field. Former Net Jeremy Lin is averaging 11.0 points for the Hawks.