ATLANTA – The miscues have been identified. The strengths have been noted. The adjustments have been made.
The Brooklyn Nets have used the last two days of practice to make the tweaks they believe will help them win Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
“We covered a lot of stuff, trying to show where openings are so we can attack them quicker, not turn the ball over as much, and be able to execute and score,’’ Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.
“I feel we made some nice adjustments,’’ he continued. “We showed a lot of stuff that they do. The key is being able to do it under fire and in the heat of the battle and sticking with it and being able adjust out of it when they don’t do what we thought they were going to do. That all comes into play, too.’’
The Nets, who dropped Game 1, 99-92, know they need to move the ball quicker against Atlanta’s double-team defense. They want to get center Brook Lopez (17 points; 14 rebounds), who attempted just seven shots against the Hawks, more touches. They also know that they need to cut down on turnovers.
But after losing four regular season games to Atlanta by an averaging of 17.4 points, the Nets had the Hawks on the brink in Game 1. Brooklyn trailed by three in the third quarter and by four with less than two minutes remaining.
“The fact that we could go into this arena and make a tough game down the stretch is definitely a confidence booster for us,’’ Joe Johnson said. “We’re looking to finish what we start as far as intensity and trying to get off to a fast start.’’
Johnson could be the wild card in this series. He scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and had six assists. He is Public Enemy No. 1 in Atlanta, where Hawks fans feel he didn’t embrace the franchise when he played here from 2005-2011.
It’s pure folly, but Johnson was booed every time he touched the ball. He expects to get the same treatment throughout the series.
“It doesn’t bother me, man,’’ Johnson said. “I don’t let it bother me. I block it out. Obviously, I do hear it. I play through it.’’
If the Nets can execute the changes they practiced the last two days, the series can return to Brooklyn tied at one game apiece. Game 3 is Saturday afternoon (3 p.m.; YES). A limited number of tickets are available.
NOTES: Hawks center Al Horford, who suffered a dislocated right pinky in Game 1, said he would play in Game 2. Power forward Paul Millsap (six points on 2-of-11 shooting), who has been wearing a protective pad since suffering a sprained right shoulder against the Nets on April 4th, said he would go without the pad.