The Brooklyn Nets overcame another sluggish start to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 94-89 on Friday night at Barclays. The Nets were led by their big 3 of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, who combined for 62 points. Jeff Teague and Devin Harris combined for 38 for Atlanta. The Hawks did not have Al Horford for this game and Lou Williams only played 10 minutes after injuring his leg in the second quarter.
There were tons of ties and lead changes in this game and no team led by more than 8 points. In fact, after the first, second, and third quarters, the game was tied. The Nets turned up their defense in the fourth quarter where they outscored the Hawks 20-15. They had their biggest lead of 8 points with about 3 minutes remaining, but Atlanta closed the gap to only one point after a humungous dunk by Josh Smith. The Nets put the game away after free throws by Deron Williams.
This was not a pretty game at all by the Nets, but they have to be happy with the win. Brooklyn shot only 40% from the field and 66% from the foul line. They missed 13 foul shots in the game, which is way too many, especially after going 17-17 in their last game. They also had a terrible 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 18-18. The reason why they won the game was that they were able to kill Atlanta on the boards, outrebounding them 48-35, including allowing the Hawks only 5 offensive rebounds.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: A
Reggie Evans cares about one statistic and that is rebounding. He had 20 rebounds tonight despite scoring only 2 points on 0-4 shooting from the foul line. His defense on Josh Smith was very good, holding him to only 12 points on 5-15 shooting.
Gerald Wallace: C+
Gerald Wallace still looks a little bit slow after returning from his injury. Tonight he only had 8 points on 1-6 shooting.
Brook Lopez: B+
Lopez had a pretty good game with 20 points and 6 rebounds. However, the Nets have no excuse for not getting the ball to Lopez more. He had Johan Petro on him for much of the game, and Nets fans know what kind of terrible defense Petro plays. Lopez only had 12 field goal attempts. He should have had closer to 20.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron Williams had a hot start in this game, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. He finished with 24 points, 7 assists, and 4 turnovers on 7-19 shooting. He made some clutch foul shots in the last minute of the game and has now made his last 47 free throw attempts. His defense on Jeff Teague was poor again as Teague went for 21 and 10 assists.
Joe Johnson: B
JJ had a pretty average game with 18 points on 7-17 shooting. He knocked down most of his open 3′s. He should have taken advantage of his size more against Devin Harris. We did not see nearly enough post-ups from Joe Johnson tonight.
Andray Blatche: A
Blatche had another extremely efficient game with 11 points and 8 rebounds on 4-5 shooting in only 16 minutes. I think he should be getting more playing time.
The Nets will have the weekend off and then take the uptown 2 train on Monday to Madison Square Garden to face the Manhattan Knicks for the final time this season. The game will be an afternoon start and we will have full coverage at FRWD.