Deron Williams poured in a game-high 24 points to lead the Nets to a 94-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks at the Barclays center Wednesday night.
Williams’ efforts were complemented by contributions from Brook Lopez, who had 20 points and nine rebounds and Joe Johnson, who chipped in with 18. Jeff Teague had 21 points and 10 assists for Atlanta, who have lost seven in a row on the road. Hawks forward Josh Smith had 12 points and nine rebounds in his return from a one-game suspension, but shot only 5-of 15 from the field. With the win, Brooklyn earned a split of the home-and-home series with the Hawks. Atlanta snapped the Nets’ seven-game win steak, beating them 109-95 in Atlanta on Wednesday. Unlike Wednesday’s game, the Nets played with better energy from the start.
Although the Hawks came out firing in the first quarter, hitting seven of their first eight shots, including four from the three-point arc, Brooklyn remained within striking distance. In a game that featured 13 lead changes, the Nets came out on top because of their tenacity on defense which was spearheaded by Reserve Forward Reggie Evans. Evans affected the game not only by grabbing 20 boards, but by also clogging up the driving lanes to disrupt the continuity of pick-and-rolls and prevent the penetration of the Hawks guards. The Nets’ defensive efforts forced Atlanta to shoot 5-for-22 from the field (22 percent).
The one glaring concern for the Nets was turnovers (18). Nevertheless, Brooklyn scored an impressive win against a good team. Brooklyn’s 14 point loss to the Hawks Wednesday gave the Nets the wake-up call they may have needed to prepare for a stretch in which they will compete against better competition, starting with the Knicks on Martin Luther King day. The Nets could have lethargic first halves and still have their way with sub-par opponents, but when they are up against the elite teams, they must bring it on both ends of the court from start to finish just to have a chance to win.
Injury Notes: Atlanta played without center Al Horford, who was suffering from a sore hamstring and calf, and lost key reserve Lou Williams in the second quarter after he injured his right knee on a drive to the basket.
Other notes: The Nets honored their official scorer, Herb Turetsky, for working his 1,200 consecutive game, a streak that began in May 1984.
- Nets beat Hawks 94-89 for home-and-home split (utsandiego.com)