Nets back on winning track, top Hawks

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 18, 2013
Deron Williams scored 24 points, making four free throws in the final 43.4 seconds, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks, 94-89, on Friday night to earn a split of a home-and-home series. Brook Lopez added 20 points for the Nets, who bounced back from a 109-95 loss in Atlanta on Wednesday that ended their seven-game winning streak. Former Hawks guard Joe Johnson finished with 18 points and Reggie Evans grabbed 20 rebounds, as the Nets beat the Hawks for the first time in seven meetings. Jeff Teague had 21 points and 10 assists for the Hawks, who played without starting center Al Horford and lost key reserve Lou Williams to a serious-looking right knee injury. Former Nets guard Devin Harris scored 17 and Josh Smith had 12 points and nine rebounds in his return from a one-game suspension, but shot just 5 of 15. The Hawks were only 5 of 22 from the field in the fourth quarter and lost for the seventh time in nine games. In a game that was tied after each of the first three quarters, the Nets relied on solid defense to pull ahead in the fourth, then held off a late run. It was 74-all before the Nets scored the first five of the fourth. Johnson's jumper with 8:06 left was the first basket of the quarter and made it 79-74 before the Hawks could get on the board. Four straight points from Mike Scott made it a one-point game, but Johnson made another jumper, and after a free throw by Teague, Lopez and Keith Bogans scored to make it 85-80. The Nets pushed it to 90-82 after five free throws by Lopez and appeared safe with under 3 minutes left. But the Hawks ran off seven straight, capped emphatically when Smith grabbed a rebound, drove all the way and threw down a powerful dunk over Lopez to make it 90-89. The Hawks thought they came up with a turnover but replayed showed the ball was off them, and Williams made a pair of free throws with 43 seconds to go. Lopez blocked Teague's shot, Williams made two more from the line with 11 seconds left, and that was it. Hawks coach Larry Drew said Horford had a sore hamstring and calf. He was in uniform but didn't start for just the second time in Hawks' 39 games, and Drew decided not to use him at all. Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said before the game the Nets' transition defense had to be ''400 times'' better than it was Wednesday, wanting to see how the Nets came out in the first few minutes. The Hawks then made seven of their first eight shots, including all four 3-pointers, but the Nets stuck right with them and it was 29-all after one. It was still tied in the second when Williams came up with a steal and was driving for a basket when his leg gave out as he tried to plant to go up for the shot with 7:12 remaining. He limped out of bounds behind the basket and was taken to the back for attention, unable to put any pressure on the leg. The Hawks said he had a sprained right knee and would undergo testing Friday night and Saturday. Notes: Smith passed Eddie Johnson (9,631 points) for eighth on the team's career scoring list. Smith now has 9,633. ... Gerald Wallace returned to the Nets' lineup after missing two games and coming off the bench in one because of bruised ribs. He had eight points on 1-of-6 shooting. ... Nets official scorer Herb Turetzky worked his 1,200th consecutive game, a streak that began in May 1984. Turetzky is in his 46th season as the Nets' official scorer and has worked 1,887 games overall.
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