(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks will try put away those pesky Brooklyn Nets Friday night when Game 6 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series returns to the Barclays Center.
Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games and Brooklyn finished under- .500, so the fact this series has been so difficult is somewhat surprising.
"The playoffs are a new season," Atlanta's All-Star center Al Horford said. "You never underestimate any team."
The Hawks pulled ahead 3-2 in this competitive first-round matchup with a 107-97 home win over the Nets in Wednesday's Game 5 at Philips Arena.
DeMarre Carroll netted 19 of his 24 points in the opening 24 minutes and Horford added 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Hawks. Jeff Teague posted 20 points and eight assists for the Hawks, who have won 13 of their last 15 home games against Brooklyn.
Three-point specialist Kyle Korver, just 12-of-37 (32.4 percent) from beyond the arc over the first four games, was 5-of-12 from long distance and finished with 17 points in the triumph.
The Nets never led and trailed by as many as 17 in the opening half. They pulled within two several times in the fourth quarter and even clawed within a point on one occasion, but the Hawks always responded.
Joe Johnson and Jarrett Jack netted 22 of Brooklyn's 27 points in the final frame. Johnson supplied 18 points and nine boards and Jack provided 18 points and six assists in defeat.
Jack poured in 12 consecutive Brooklyn points at one point in the fourth, including a floater to get it within 90-89 with 4:41 to play.
Atlanta, though, countered when a Teague pull-up triple and a layup from Carroll extended its cushion back to 95-89.
After Johnson sandwiched 3-pointers around a Horford jumper to cut the deficit to 97-95 with 2:20 remaining, Atlanta scored three straight baskets to put the game out of reach.
"We responded," Jack said. "Maybe a little too late."
Alan Anderson scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half for Brooklyn, which is attempting to become the first under-.500 eighth seed (38-44) to win a first-round series. Five eight seeds have beaten No. 1s in NBA history.
Brook Lopez had 15 points for the Nets.
Brooklyn is back home for Game 6. They won both playoff games in the Barclays Center and will need another to force a Game 7 on Sunday.
"I'd rather be playing this game here than anywhere else," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said of his home court.
For Atlanta, a big concern in Game 6 is bench production. The Hawks' second unit combined for 16 points on Wednesday and head coach Mike Budenholzer played his starters almost entirely in the fourth quarter.
"It's the playoffs, so every game becomes more and more important," Budenholzer said. "We felt like we had to keep that group out there. There have been certain periods in games where we haven't been as good as we need to be. So having maybe a little different combination during those periods...in some ways it helped us, and in other ways, there were periods where we had very similar results to the previous two games. Our five guys played well. We just stuck with them."
The Hawks have won seven of the nine total meetings between the teams this season, with Atlanta taking the first six.