NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 26th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Nets (23-48) at Atlanta Hawks (40-32), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The slumping Atlanta Hawks will again try to secure a playoff berth Saturday when they entertain the New Jersey Nets at Philips Arena.
The Hawks, who are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, are on the precipice of their fourth straight postseason bid but have dropped eight of 11 games and are just 7-14 since Feb. 8. A fifth straight home win against the Nets, however, and Atlanta will secure the spot.
Most recently the Hawks fell in the Cradle of Liberty on Wednesday when Lou Williams led a balanced attack with 17 points off the bench, as the Philadelphia 76ers used a big fourth quarter to take down Atlanta, 105-100.
Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala both added 16 points for the Sixers, who hold the sixth spot and are now three games behind the Hawks after their loss Friday in Miami.
Josh Smith finished with 33 points and 12 boards against Philly for Atlanta, which has lost two in a row and four of five overall. Kirk Hinrich and Marvin Williams both chipped in with 16 points.
"They just made the plays they needed to down the stretch," said Smith about the Sixers.
The Nets, meanwhile, continue to play out the string and lost for the fifth time in six games in Orlando on Friday when Dwight Howard scored 21 points with 14 rebounds as the Magic pulled away for their fifth straight win, 95-85.
Anthony Morrow scored 19 points to lead six New Jersey players in double figures as the Nets fell to a miserable 5-30 on the road this season. Jordan Farmar added 15 points and dished out 16 assists while center Brook Lopez was limited to 10 points. Lopez, however, is averaging 24.0 points per game against Atlanta this season.
On the injury front, New Jersey star point Deron Williams will miss at least two more games with a strained tendon in his right wrist. The All-Star is averaging 14.8 points and 13.1 assists in eight games with the Nets since being acquired from Utah in a blockbuster trade at the deadline.
Atlanta has won five of the past seven in the series but the Nets have taken two of three this season.
03/26 10:30:46 ET