It wasn’t a thriller, but the Brooklyn Nets won’t mind after they enjoyed a comfortable 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks at London’s o2 Arena on Thursday evening.
For the Nets, it’s just another ‘W’ in the win column as they strive to climb the Eastern Conference standings, but they gave their growing European fan base something to cheer about with Joe Johnson leading the way with 29 points, while Andray Blatche had 20.
The Hawks were technically the home team on this occasion, but you wouldn’t have known it given the number of people in attendance supporting the Nets.
The two teams fought out a thoroughly entertaining and high-scoring opening quarter with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions. Joe Johnson got off to a great start against his former team while most of the Hawks’ success came from their guards, Jeff Teague and Lou Williams.
Having trailed 31-27 after the first, Atlanta cut the lead at the beginning of the second quarter to 31-30, but two quick baskets from Nets’ Paul Pierce began an 8-0 run to give the Nets a 39-30 lead.
The Hawks got as close as 44-40 down, but the Nets were beginning to take control, led by the hot shooting of Johnson. Fittingly he would score the final points of the half, a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 65-53 lead and Johnson 26 points personal.
The third quarter saw Pierce take over the Nets’ scoring, helping the Nets increase the lead to 76-56. Atlanta hit back to cut the deficit to 58-76, but that would be as close as they could get as a Pierce basket saw the Nets take over the game again, pushing their lead to 99-74, going into the final quarter. For the second quarter in a row, Joe Johnson would beat the buzzer with a three-pointer, his only basket of the second half.
The Nets passed the 100-point mark on the first possession of the fourth and with the result beyond doubt, the only question that remained was, would Kyle Korver’s three-point streak end?
It was answered with 8.23 remaining as Korver finally found his range, converting his eighth attempt, but it did nothing in terms of affecting the final outcome as both teams then went with their benches the rest of the way.
Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott led the Hawks with 17 points each.
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