Nets basketball coach Kenny Atkinson out to avoid ‘nightmare’ of Nets losing in the Eastern Conference Finals

The Nets are emerging as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference Finals while giving coach Kenny Atkinson a once-in-a-lifetime shot. The Nets’ 3-1 series lead over the Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals is as close to a sure thing as any team in the NBA this postseason. But can Atkinson handle the pressure?

The Brooklyn native is a coach that tends to infuse a certain fire in his players. The Nets’ swagger may have made it to the NBA finals four years ago, and he is poised to keep it going as long as the Nets keep the magic alive.

The Nets are coming off a loss Sunday when John Wall got off to an unbelievable 20-point start, which was punctuated by a triple-double from him to lead Washington to a 138-123 win. Fans of the Nets hoped that Paul Pierce, who won a title with the Wizards, would return to his first team but were disappointed when that decision didn’t work out. Instead, it’s with the Nets that Wall feels like the self-proclaimed “best point guard in the world.”

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The guard averaged a triple-double in the first round against Toronto and was the star in the first half of Game 2, but Pierce’s early jump got the Wizards on the board. Wall outscored the Nets by himself until the Wizards scored a quick 10 straight in the fourth quarter to win by 13 points.

If the Wizards are able to take Game 4, which will be at Barclays Center Thursday night, they will most likely be facing a different and it could be a hard-fought series.

Watch the Nets and Wizards play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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