NEW YORK (AP) — They were beaten badly in the regular season and were losing by a little in the playoffs.
On their seventh try this season, the Nets finally got a victory over Atlanta. Get another one Monday, and they will be all even with the No. 1 seed in this Eastern Conference series.
Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Thaddeus Young added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Brooklyn trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 2-1 with a 91-83 victory Saturday.
“We know they’re going to make adjustments, but we really feel we can compete with these guys and we have a lot of confidence right now,” Lopez said.
The Nets seized control with an 18-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters after the Hawks grabbed their first lead since the opening basket. Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 points for the eighth-seeded Nets, who qualified for the playoffs on the final night of the regular season.
They didn’t appear to be much of a threat to the 60-win Hawks after dropping the first three meetings during the regular season by double digits — including a 32-point stomping on April 4. They nearly won the final matchup before close losses in Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta.
“I think they’re a confident group, just like we are. It’s the playoffs,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think they’ve played well really for stretches from the beginning and it’s going to be a series.”
DeMarre Carroll scored a playoff career-high 22 points for the Hawks, who were denied what would have been their second 3-0 lead since moving to Atlanta in 1968. Paul Millsap added 18 points and 17 rebounds.
The other three East series were all 3-0 entering Saturday, but the Hawks won’t be able to wrap this one up quickly after getting poor performances from All-Stars Kyle Korver (two points, 0 for 5 on 3-pointers) and Al Horford (3 for 12, seven points).
“From the beginning of the game, they had more of an edge than we did,” Horford said. “This was a big game for them and they came out and handled their business.”
Still, the Hawks had recovered from a poor start to grab the lead late in the third quarter before the Nets put together their big run.
Young, who apologized to his teammates after scoring only two points on 1-of-7 shooting in Game 2, answered Atlanta’s 11-0 run that gave the Hawks a 62-58 lead with three straight baskets to put the Nets ahead to stay. They scored the last nine points of the third, and Lopez took over when they went 9-0 to open the fourth and build a 76-62 lead.
“No matter what or how I felt about Game 2, I knew I had to come back and bounce back in Game 3 for us to get a win,” Young said.
After getting outscored by 17 points in the first quarter of the first two games, the Nets got the quick start coach Lionel Hollins wanted — though plenty of fans missed it.
Black giveaway T-shirts hung over loads of empty seats all around the arena at the start of the mid-afternoon game. The Nets, who wore their road black uniforms, ran off 11 straight points in the opening minutes, then closed the first quarter with nine straight to open a 31-16 lead.
Hawks: Atlanta’s lone 3-0 lead was in 1969-70 against Chicago in the Western Division semifinals, a series it won 4-1. … Horford added eight rebounds after having double-doubles in the first two games.
Nets: Brooklyn had dropped seven straight to Atlanta dating to last season. … The Nets had nine assists on their 11 first-quarter baskets.
Deron Williams, who went 1 for 7 in Game 2 and missed a jumper that would have tied it in the closing seconds, was 1 for 8 in this one, appearing to hurt his leg in the first half, then going to the bench just before the Nets started the pivotal run and staying there the rest of the way.
Korver, who made a 3-pointer in 51 straight games during the regular season, was 1 for 8 overall Saturday.
“I didn’t get any good looks early and I tried to force a couple late,” he said. “I need to be better on Monday.”
NEW YORK NIGHTLIFE
The Hawks are back in New York for the first time since reserve swingman Thabo Sefolosha was lost to a broken right leg when he and Pero Antic were arrested by New York police outside a nightclub. Budenholzer said then his players didn’t have a curfew and he wasn’t worried about them on this trip, either, saying the Hawks have mature, responsible players. “I think they’re all in a good place and know how important what’s happening is,” he said. “We’re just going about our business.”
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