The Brooklyn Nets weren’t supposed to put up any sort of fight in their first-round match-up against the Atlanta Hawks. Instead, Brooklyn is on the verge of pushing the Eastern Conference’s top seed to the brink. Wednesday, however, Atlanta held home court with a 107-97 victory to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Al Horford (20 points, 15 rebounds) looked like Al Horford again, knocking down mid-range jump shots like that’s the only thing he was born to do; Kyle Korver was once again a walking-flame emoji, draining five of his 12 3-point attempts; Jeff Teague rekindled his #PlayoffTeague alter ego with a 20-point, eight-assist performance; and soon-to-be-filthy-rich DeMarre Carroll continued to be the best player in this series with a game-high 24 points.
Was this really the best stat line? Probably not. But Anderson won’t ever be in this position again so give him the pat on the back he deserves.
Anderson was brilliant all night, going 9 for 11 from the floor on his way to a team-high 23 points. He made all four of his 3-point attempts, pulled in seven rebounds and provided solid, versatile defense on several of Atlanta’s best perimeter threats.
Best blast from the past: Vince Carter, G, Memphis
Carter won a slam dunk contest 15 years ago. He is 38 years old. Stuff like this just isn’t supposed to happen, and yet it does. He finished with nine points and five rebounds off the bench as the Grizzlies closed out the visiting Portland Trail Blazers in five games with a 99-93 victory.
McCollum, who actually finished with 33 points in this one, was a volcano in this series; in Game 5 he erupted.
"Best" facial fracture: Mike Conley, G, Memphis
Grizzlies point guard Conley is out for the foreseeable future after undergoing surgery to repair facial fractures suffered during a collision with McCollum in Game 3. He was at FedExForum to support his guys during Game 5. And, well, it’s a good thing he sat this one out, even though Memphis could’ve really used his defense to cool McCollum down.
Best at being worst:Deron Williams, G, Brooklyn
Two days after dropping 35 points on 25 shots, the Nets point guard was back to his usual self, scoring just five points on eight shots. His ineffectiveness spread like a disease throughout Brooklyn’s roster, with nobody able to benefit from the open looks Williams consistently created in Game 4.
The Nets were outscored by 10 points with Williams on the floor, and he was in and out of the fourth quarter, ceding late-game minutes to rookie Bojan Bogdanovic.
Best drop step into a dunk sequence: Marc Gasol, C, Memphis
Best buzzer beater:Carroll, F, Atlanta
This dude is getting paid on July 1 (when he becomes a free agent).