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Hooks look to keep streaking in Brooklyn
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Latest Line: Atlanta -8.5 O/U: 217
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NEW YORK -- The Atlanta Hawks are on their best run of the season. It is occurring while the Hawks might be in the midst of dismantling their roster.

Atlanta officially traded Kyle Korver Saturday to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Paul Millsap is rumored to be next.

Still, it has not stopped from the Hawks winning six straight games and seeking a seventh straight victory Tuesday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.

The Hawks (21-16) are on their second six-game winning streak of the season. The other six-game streak occurred Nov. 5-16 as Atlanta opened with a 9-2 record.

Atlanta then lost 14 of its next 20 before getting a 102-98 overtime win over the New York Knicks on Dec. 28. The Hawks also knocked off the San Antonio Spurs at home on Jan. 1 and are 3-0 on a four-game trip against losing teams.

Millsap scored 32 points in the win over San Antonio but is 15 of 41 (36.5 percent) from the field in the last three games. He is averaging 20 points during the winning streak on 37.5 percent (39-of-104) shooting.

Others have chipped in for Atlanta.

Tim Hardaway Jr. began the streak by shooting 2 of 15, but in the last four games he is averaging 19.3 points and shooting 59.5 percent (28-of-47).

Dennis Schroder is averaging 20.1 points and six assists while shooting 46.9 percent (46-of-98) in the last six games.

On Saturday, Hardaway and Schroder combined for 42 points in a 97-82 win over the Dallas Mavericks. In the first game since Korver was officially traded for Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and a 2019 first-round pick, Hardaway hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 points while Schroder added 20 and three 3-pointers.

"We just have to keep playing," Hardaway Jr. said. "We just have to go out there and compete. We're all a part of this franchise right now, so we're going to do whatever we can to get as many wins as possible during this stretch.

"I think the focus today was great, even with the trade happening with Kyle. We all battled through it and we prevailed and it's time to move on."

Although the Hawks are ranked towards the bottom in 3-point percentage at 34 percent, they are shooting 40.6 percent from long range in the last six games.

In past years, Dunleavy Jr. might be viewed as someone who can help from 3-point range, but he played sparingly with Cleveland and reportedly had to be convinced to report to Atlanta during a meeting with coach Mike Budenholzer on Monday. The trade is still expected to remain in place since Atlanta values the future first-round pick.

Tuesday will mark the first time the Hawks face former assistant Kenny Atkinson. Atkinson was on coach Mike Budenholzer's staff for the previous three seasons, including two years ago when the Hawks won 60 games.

"I think the Hawks are a smart organization," Atkinson said. "I think we all like to see a team that won 60 games stay together forever but the reality is you have to change and you have to look to the future."

Brooklyn is on a six-game losing for the second time this season and a loss on Tuesday will equal its longest skid of the year. The Nets are also 4-23 since Nov. 12 and 11 of 12 since a 10-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 14.

The latest defeat was a 105-95 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday afternoon, when the Nets gave up 13 straight points to open the second half and again down the stretch in the fourth.

Brook Lopez scored 18 of his 26 points before halftime as Brooklyn held an 11-point lead before getting outscored 32-16 in the third quarter. It was the 10th time the Nets were held under 20 points in a third quarter and the 29th time they were outscored in the third.

"I just didn't feel like that third quarter (was competitive)," Atkinson said. "It's like 'Why isn't our energy the same?'"

Another common trend for the Nets is turnovers. Brooklyn averages 17.3 and committed 22 Sunday to mark the 17th time the Nets gave it away at least 17 times.

Four of those instances occurred in games point guard Jeremy Lin played in. Lin will likely miss his seventh straight with a strained left hamstring and the Nets are 5-19 when Lin does not play.

"We have to do a better job just executing our offense better and making better decisions," Atkinson said. "It's a little disappointing because I felt like our defense gave us a chance. But you can't turn it over like that and give them that many more possessions. Eventually, it's going to get you."

Atlanta is 7-1 in the last eight regular-season meetings.


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