THE FACTS: Coming off one of the worst games in franchise history, the Atlanta Hawks played one of their best games of the season.
Playing without Josh Smith, who was suspended for the game, the Hawks came out running and gunning and never stopped, routing the Brooklyn Nets, 109-95, Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The win was only Atlanta's second in its last eight games but the sixth straight in the series and eighth consecutive win over the Nets at Philips Arena.
The loss snapped Brooklyn's seven-game winning streak and was only the second defeat in 11 games under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. The teams meet again Friday night in Brooklyn at Barclays Center.
The Hawks shot 57.7 percent for the game and had 33 assists, led by their back court. Jeff Teague and Devin Harris combined for 46 points on 18-for-29 shooting, and 16 assists. Teague's 28 points (a career-high) and 11 assists both were game-highs for Atlanta, which saw six players score in double-figures, including all five starters. Center Zaza Pachulia, starting in place of Smith, just missed recording his first career triple double, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out eight assists, and Al Horford added 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season.
Brook Lopez had 22 points to lead the Nets. He dominated inside, hitting 10-of-14 shots and also pulled in a team-high nine rebounds. Joe Johnson, making his return to Atlanta, where he was an All-Star in six of his seven seasons, was next in scoring with 15, but struggled from the field, making only 4-of-15 shots and none from three.
Atlanta led wire-to-wire, speeding out to a 13-4 lead just over four minutes in, and led 27-20 after one, shooting 57.9 percent in the quarter. The Hawks carried a double-digit lead for most of the second quarter, leading 56-40 at half. The 56 points were two fewer than they scored in the entire game Monday at Chicago. Atlanta would stretch the lead to 26 in the third quarter, when they shot 70 percent (14-for-20) and never led by fewer than 12 the rest of the way.
Twice the Nets, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back, pulled to within 12, but each time the Hawks answered.
The Hawks finished the game shooting 57.7 percent, to 42.5 for Brooklyn and hit eight of 21 three-pointers (38.1 percent), to the Nets' 4-of-26 (15.4 percent.
QUOTABLE: "When you have guards with the speed of Jeff Teague and Devin Harris, if you want the ball you've got to keep up with them."
-- Hawks Coach Larry Drew
THE STAT: 29-12: The Hawks put an emphasis on running and it showed. The Hawks outscored the Nets on the fast break, 29-12. Atlanta came into the game averaging 15.9 fast break points a game. A key part of that was winning the rebounding battle, as they had a 41-37 edge.
TURNING POINT: With 1:46 left in the first quarter the Nets trailed 22-20 and were on an 8-2 run. But an Ivan Johnson offensive rebound and put-back of a Lou Williams' miss kickstarted a 12-0 run bridging the end of the first quarter and the first minute of the second, pushing the lead to 14. Brooklyn never got closer than seven the rest of the game. An 8-2 run to close the second quarter put the Hawks up 56-40 and put the Nets in too deep a hole to come back.
QUOTABLE II: "We knew the Hawks weren't going to let me play. We knew they were going to trap me every time I caught the ball. We just didn't seem to make the right reads."
-- Brooklyn guard and former Hawk Johnson
HOT: The Hawks shot 70 percent in the third quarter -- 14-of-20, 3-for-7 from three (42.9 percent) -- when they took control of the game. In the quarter, Teague was 4-for-4, 1-for-1 from three, Pachulia was 3-for-3, Horford 2-for-3 and Williams and Johnson each hit their only shots, Williams hitting from three.
HOT: The Nets were perfect from the foul line on the night, converting all 17 of their free throw attempts. Johnson led the way going 7-for-7, while Reggie Evans was 4-for-4 and Lopez, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace both made their only two attempts.
NOT: Brooklyn was as off from behind the arc as they were on from the line. The Nets shot only 4-for-26 (15.4 percent) from three, with Deron Williams leading the team with two 3-pointers but in nine tries. C.J. Watson and Mirza Teletovic both went 1-for-3, while Johnson (0-for-4), Keith Bogans (0-for-6), and Jerry Stackhouse (0-for-1) took the collar.
ROOKIE WATCH: Teletovic was the only rookie to see the floor. In 6:33, he had three points on 1-for-4 shooting, including 1-for-3 from three, making him one of three Nets to can a three.
GOOD MOVE: The Nets stressed attacking Johnson and frequently had their bigs and front court players step out to double-team. The result was a nightmare return to Atlanta for Johnson, who shot 26.7 percent (4-for-15) and was 0-fer from three (0-for-4).
NOTABLE: Atlanta's 33 assists were two off their season-high and marked the fourth time they've given out 30 assists. They are 4-0 in such games. ... The Hawks had three starters record double-doubles for the second time this season, while all five starters hit for double figures for the sixth time. ... Lopez came into the game as the only player in the NBA to average 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. He didn't hurt his cause Wednesday, scoring 22, grabbing nine boards and blocking a shot. ... Five Nets scored in double-figures, including Andray Blatche, who had 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting...Kyle Korver was only 1-for-4 from three, but it was enough to extend his career-high streak of games with a three-point field goal to 32...NASCAR's Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 car, was in attendance and was recognized at the half...Hawks radio play-by-play announcer Steve Holman was honored at the end of the first quarter for calling his 2,000th straight game.
UP NEXT: For the Nets, Friday vs. Hawks, Monday @ New York, Wednesday @ Minnesota. For the Hawks, Friday @ Nets, Saturday vs. San Antonio, Monday vs. Minnesota.