Nets beat Hawks 94-89 for home-and-home split

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets paid back the Hawks and now want to get even with the Knicks.

Deron Williams scored 24 points, making four free throws in the final 43.4 seconds, and Brooklyn beat Atlanta 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 snapped their seven-game winning streak.

The Nets pulled within two games of the first-place Knicks ahead of Monday's matchup at Madison Square Garden, their final meeting of the season. New York has won the last two after Brooklyn took the first game as city rivals.

"We've got to go in there with the mind-frame that we understand it's going to be a hostile environment and some way, somehow we've got to come out of there on top," Nets guard Joe Johnson said. "They beat us the last two times and we owe them."

Johnson, a perennial All-Star in Atlanta before the Hawks dealt him to the Nets last summer, finished with 18 points. Reggie Evans grabbed 20 rebounds as the Nets beat the Hawks for the first time in seven meetings.

"We were happy we were playing them again," Lopez said. "That's the great thing about the NBA. You play so many games, you play right after your last game, so we were up, ready to against them, you know, and we had motivation."

Jeff Teague had 21 points and 10 assists for the Hawks, who played without Horford, their starting center, 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 team 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.

"I thought particularly my guys, they really hung in there, particularly after we lost Lou Williams in the first half. We were already short-handed with no Al Horford. It made it even tougher losing Lou," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "I thought our guys came out, I thought they played hard. We did some good things, we did some not so good things. But the energy was there. The effort was there."

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.

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.

Continue reading this story on the...