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Preview: Brooklyn At Atlanta

When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

The Brooklyn Nets found themselves two victories away from upending the top-seed Atlanta Hawks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in April, but the Nets come to Atlanta on Saturday mired in the depths of a miserable season. Brooklyn reaches the midpoint with just 11 victories, having dropped six of its past seven following Friday’s 116-104 home loss to Portland, and likely will spend the second half of the season assessing how to rebuild.

The Nets are 1-2 since interim coach Tony Brown replaced Lionel Hollins, losing a six-point lead with less than nine minutes left Friday thanks to a 19-2 Portland run. The Hawks also played Friday, going to overtime for the first time this season before falling apart at the finish in a 108-101 defeat at Milwaukee. Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games and reached the conference finals for the first time a season ago, but has dropped five of eight following a six-game winning streak. Paul Millsap is on track for a third-consecutive All-Star berth, averaging 18.4 points and 8.7 rebounds after going for 23 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out Friday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

ABOUT THE NETS (11-29): Center Brook Lopez has been a bright spot in Brooklyn’s season, averaging a team-best 19.9 points, but Friday’s loss dropped the Nets to 0-12 when they allow an opponent to shoot 50 percent or better from the field. Guard Joe Johnson hit three 3-pointers Friday, moving into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time made 3-point list with 487. The Nets, who have not won consecutive games since Dec. 8-10, play 11 of their next 16 at home.

ABOUT THE HAWKS (23-17): Atlanta shot just six free throws compared to 37 by Milwaukee and was dominated on the glass, being outrebounded 60-43 and giving up 21 offensive boards. Millsap recorded his 14th double-double of the season but was sorely missed after fouling out late in regulation. Guard Kyle Korver finished 7-of-10 from the field in scoring 17 points and is 8-of-15 from 3-point range in his past three contests.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Atlanta has defeated Brooklyn nine times in 12 meetings since the start of last season, including a six-game triumph in the playoffs.

2. Brooklyn G Donald Sloan fell just short of his first career triple-double Friday, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in his third consecutive start.

3. The Nets have failed to score 100 points 26 times, going 3-23 in those contests.

PREDICTION: Hawks 103, Nets 92