Nets Make It a Series After a 91-83 Game 3 Win Over the Hawks

BROOKLYN – The NBA Playoffs came to Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon and the Atlanta Hawks’ worst fears were realized.

The playoff-experienced Nets know how to play at this time of the year. They know the Hawks, despite their 60-22 regular-season record, coasted down the stretch, losing five of their last 10, including their last three. The Nets surged into the playoffs at the 11th hour.

Although Atlanta got the No.1 seed and Brooklyn got the No. 8 seed, the Nets never doubted they could play with the Hawks. Now the Nets know they can beat the Hawks.

The Nets used a pulverizing 18-0 run from late in the third quarter to early in the fourth quarter, to take Game 3, 91-83, in Barclays Center.

Now the Hawks face their worst fears: Their 60-win regular season might have been nothing more than impressive window dressing.

“I think from the beginning they’ve been a confident team,’’ Atlanta Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer said of the Nets. “It’s going to be a series."

It is a series. Game 4 is Monday night in Barclays Center and there are a limited number of tickets available.

The Nets are the team gaining momentum. After losing Game 1, 99-92, they had a chance to force overtime in Game 2, but came up short, 96-91.

“I don’t know what’s going through their head, but they’ve kind of felt our presence throughout the whole series,’’ said forward Thaddeus. Young.

KEY STRETCH: After the Hawks rallied to take their first lead since the early minutes at 62-58, the Nets responded with an 18-0 surge to take a 76-62 lead early in the fourth. Thaddeus Young started it with three straight baskets but Joe Johnson made the two dagger plays. He hit a corner 3 early in the run and then willed his way in for a layup and was fouled. Johnson converted the three-point play for a 70-62 lead.

KEY PLAY: After the Nets used that 18-0 run to take a 76-62 lead, the Hawks got to within 76-68. It was 78-69 Brooklyn when Jarrett Jack drained a three pointer from the top of the key to push the lead back to 12.

NETS GAINS: After scoring two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the Nets 96-91 loss to the Hawks in Game 2 in Atlanta, Thaddeus Young apologized to his teammates. Young more than atoned for his play by scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. When the Nets went on their 18-0 run, he scored the team’s first six points. The name Thaddeus means heart.

KEY STAT: After Paul Millsap put in a layup with 4:09 left in the third quarter, the Nets defense held the Hawks without a field goal until 7:45 remained in the fourth. That’s eight minutes and 24 seconds without a basket.

KEY STAT II: Getting double-doubles from Brook Lopez (22 points; 13 rebounds), Joe Johnson (16 points; 10 rebounds) and Young (18 points; 11 rebounds), the Nets outscored the Hawks 50-30 in the paint.

TALK: Thaddeus Young was asked about the Nets’ 18-0 run that turned the game.

“This is a big boys' game. You have to be able to withstand runs and make your presence felt on the court. You have to impose your will on the game the whole time. We did a good job of just imposing our will on the game."

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