Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks: 5 Bold Predictions

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Struggles Against Former Team

Jan 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson (7) passes out of the defense by Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) in the third quarter of their game at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 113-102. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned before, Joe Johnson spent a large part of his career with the Hawks, playing seven seasons in Atlanta prior to being traded to the Nets. That is an underlying storyline of this series, as the Hawks ascended to this level in big part because of Johnson’s departure freeing up so much money, and the Nets are stuck where they are because of the albatross contract.

The Nets are also dealing with a declining Johnson, as his scoring average dropped for the fourth time in five seasons. His 14.4 points per game are the lowest from him since his third year in the NBA. To make things worse, the Hawks are actually the team he scores least against in the NBA.

In his career, Johnson averages only 12.4 points per game, the lowest mark he has against any opponent by, with his 14.5 against the Memphis Grizzlies being the second lowest.

Those struggles will continue, as Johnson’s late season swoon is one of the reason the Nets found it so difficult to get into the postseason at all. He averaged only 10.8 points per game in April is his lowest points per game in a month since March 2003.

Johnson is a consummate veteran, but he just isn’t the player he once was. He will record more single-digit scoring games in the series against the Hawks than double-digit ones.

Next: Lone Nets Bright Spot