Through the first five games of the Atlanta-Brooklyn series the home team has won all five times. With Atlanta now leading 3-2 in the series, Brooklyn gets one final game to host this round. If Atlanta doesn’t want a repeat of Games 3 and 4 in this series, here are three ways they can close out the series on Friday, rather than having to play a Game 7.
Key 1: Make free throws
This doesn’t mean Atlanta has to make a high percentage of their free throw attempts. It simply means Atlanta needs to convert more free throws than Brooklyn. It may be simple, but free throws have been very important in this series so far. In Atlanta’s Game 5 win the Hawks had a worse free throw shooting percentage, but it was offset thanks to Atlanta simply making more free throws than Brooklyn did as the Nets were given very few chances at the charity stripe. In Game 3’s 91-83 loss, Atlanta was 13-17 from the free throw line while Brooklyn went 20-25. The same thing was true in Game 4. While both teams shot 67 percent from the line, the Nets went 14-21 on their free throw shots while the Hawks went just 10-15.
Key 2: Don’t force the three-point shot
Of course with Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll each making more than 100 three-point shots in the regular season (Korver with 221, Carroll with 120) it’s not to say Atlanta should avoid the long ball, just make sure the shots are smart ones. In Game 4 Brooklyn went 14-31 while Atlanta went 13-33 from beyond the arc. In that game Carroll was on target going 4-5 on his three point shots while Korver had trouble going 4-13. Game 3 was even worse for Atlanta as the Hawks went just 6-30 on their three-point attempts while Brooklyn went 7-22. Korver was 0-5 that game while Carroll again had a decent night going 3-5. Korver needs to remember not to force his shots and he should be fine.
Key 3: Give Brand and Moose minutes
The Nets haven’t been doing much with their bench as they are set on an eight-man rotation. This means Brooklyn’s big man Brook Lopez has spent a lot of time on the court in the first five games of the series. So far Lopez has spent more than 198 minutes on the floor, only Joe Johnson has been on the court more for the Nets this series.
With Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn’s backup center, spending just 40 minutes of playing time on the court for the Nets, Lopez must be getting worn down. So far Moose has yet to play a single second in this series and Brand has spent just 13 second on the court. They’re both fresh and should be given at least five minutes apiece in Game 6 just to keep them in rhythm and to further wear down Lopez.
Tip-off for Game 6 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Friday. #TrueToAtlanta