The Atlanta Hawks advanced to the second round of the playoffs after beating the Brooklyn Nets, 111-87, in Game 6 of their first-round series. They'll face the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
A balanced attack paved the way as usual for the Hawks as five players scored in double figures. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Al Horford added 18 points and seven rebounds.
The Hawks shot 72 percent from the field in the first quarter to jump out to a 36-23 lead. But like every other game this series, the Nets wouldn't go away. They crawled back to within three in the second quarter and trailed by six at the half, 51-45.
Then, things got ugly for Brooklyn. The Hawks opened the third quarter on a 23-3 run and the game was over. The Hawks led 92-66 at the end of three and coasted through the fourth quarter.
The Hawks put on a shooting clinic in the final game of the series. They shot 50.6 percent from the field and made 13 shots from deep. After shooting 31 percent from deep in the first five games of the series, Kyle Korver shot his way out of a funk, hitting 6-of-10 from behind the arc for 20 points. Jeff Teague didn't add to the shooting totals -- he scored zero points -- but he dished out 13 assists.
Brook Lopez scored 19 and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Nets.
Here's three things we learned Friday.
1. The Hawks finally took an inch and turned it into a mile
Many times this series it looked like the Hawks were going to pull away from the Nets only to let Brooklyn back into it. In Game 6, they finally stuck a nail in the coffin early in the game. The Hawks only led by six at the half after leading by as many as 15 in the first quarter. It seemed like the Nets were going to stick around for another grind-it-out game down the stretch. Instead, the Hawks dominated a Nets team that came out of the locker room lazily to start the third. They went on a 23-3 run to jump out to a 26-point lead and the game was over. In that third quarter, the Hawks scored 41 points and had 15 assists.
2. The Hawks' lack of depth is an issue
DeMarre Carroll left the court with 9:55 left second quarter after picking up his third foul, and the struggle for the Hawks was real. Without Thabo Sefolosha, who is out for the playoffs with a fractured tibia, the Hawks' bench is thin. The Nets dominated the second quarter when Mike Scott and Dennis Schroeder had to play big minutes. Schroeder can score, but has struggled shooting the ball this series. Kent Bazemore was the one bench player who made a difference. He only scored TK points, but helped on the defensive end of the court. Luckily for the Hawks, the starters who played gave the bench a big enough lead that it didn't matter if they struggled.
3. The Nets lacked urgency all night
There were multiple moments when they failed to get back on defense. And how many times can you leave Korver wide open for a three-point shot? The Nets' defense was inexcusable. The start of the second half was the worst, their worst stretch in the entire series. Atlanta was hitting shots, but most of them were wide open on fast breaks after careless turnovers by the Nets. This was an elimination game of the playoffs -- the Nets had too much sloppy play to take out the East's best regular-season team. It was an ugly end to what should have been a series to be proud of from the Nets.