Hawks 105, Nets 93

Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Al Horford had 22 points and Josh Smith added 21, eight of which came on high-flying dunks, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a huge 105-93 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Sunday night at the Barclays Center.
The victory enabled the Hawks to improve to 37-29, just a game behind the Nets (38-28) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Nets, headed for an eight-game road trip, lost a chance to pull into a virtual tie with the New York Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Besides Horford and Smith, the Hawks got 13 points from Dahntay Jones off the bench, 12 from Kyle Korver and 11 points and 15 assists from Jeff Teague. The 15 assists tied Teague's career high.
The Nets were led by the 18 points from Joe Johnson, who returned to action after missing a game with a sore heel, and 18 from Deron Williams. Brook Lopez added 17 and Reggie Evans had a season-high 14 points and 22 rebounds. It was the fifth game with 20 or more rebounds this season for Evans, most in the NBA.
The Nets had a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Hawks managed to score 34 points, the most the Nets have allowed in the final period this year.
The Hawks had runs of 7-0 and 8-0 in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Smith had a personal highlight reel with his spinning moves and dunks. The Hawks shot 70 percent (14-of-20) in the final period and outscored the Nets, 34-20 in the final period.
The Nets took the lead in the final minute of the first period, when Keith Bogans drained a long 3-pointer, followed by a C.J. Watson bank shot and ending with Williams connecting on two free throws, giving the Nets a 24-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks, keyed by John Jenkins' contribution off the bench, scored six straight points with six minutes left to take a 38-36 lead. Jenkins had seven points in the second quarter.
Former Net DeShawn Stevenson hit a desperation 32-foot 3-pointer with six seconds left in the half, giving the Hawks a 51-49 lead at halftime.
After Smith nailed a long 3-pointer to give the Hawks a 69-63 lead, the Nets scored the next five points on a 3-pointer from Williams and an acrobatic off-the-glass shot from Evans, who just threw it up at the basket as the shot clock expired and it went in off the backboard.
Andray Blatche hit one of two free throws with one second left in the third to give the Nets a 73-71 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Jones scored on a breakaway alley-oop dunk, then Jeff Teague made a steal and a layup to give the Hawks a 75-73 lead in the first minute of the final quarter.
Ivan Johnson's conventional 3-point play capped a 7-0 run to give the Hawks their biggest lead of the game at 84-77 with 7:55 left.
The Hawks then gradually pulled away from that point on.
NOTES: Before the game, Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo dismissed all talk about drawing even with the Knicks in the Atlantic Division race if his team beat the Hawks. "They have two less losses than we do," Carlesimo said. "So we're not tied with them when they have one less loss. I don't care what the numbers say. You can't be tied with someone when you have one more loss than they do. It's meaningless." ... The Nets fielded a full roster for the first time in 10 games. ... The Nets will now be on the road for the next eight games over a course of 17 days, beginning Monday in Detroit. It's the longest road trip in the franchise's history. ... The Nets own a 16-14 road record this season. ... The Nets return home April 4 against Chicago. ... The Hawks were without Zaza Pachulia, who has a sore right Achilles. ... In honor of St. Patrick's Day, several of the players on both teams wore green sneakers. Some even went as far as to don green socks as well. ... Devon Williams' green was more of the neon lime green, much like a highlight marker. ... Jeff Teague, who lit up the Nets for 28 and 21 points in two earlier games this season, was not in the starting lineup.

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