Thursday, January 16, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Nets 127, Hawks 110
By Mike Mazzeo
Get the champagne glasses ready.
Because "Joe Jesus" is probably going to be turning water into Dom Perignon.
Joe Johnson had 26 of his 29 points in the first half, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 127-110 blowout over the Atlanta Hawks Thursday at The O2 Arena in London.
Johnson, nicknamed Joe Jesus by Kevin Garnett because, "he may not be there when you call on him, but he's there when you need him," is averaging 24.4 points in his past five games. He went 11-for-15 from the field, 6-for-8 from 3-point range.
TMZ reported (with a photo) that Johnson dropped about $10,000 on expensive bubbly Monday at a local night club in London.
His performance Thursday certainly calls for another celebration.
WHAT IT MEANS: Nets coach Jason Kidd, who is now 6-1 when not wearing ties, called his team's journey overseas a business trip. And it certainly was quite a success. The Nets (16-22), who have now won six of their past seven games, had one of their best performances of the season. They established season-highs for field goals made (53) and assists (38), shot 58.2 percent from the field and hit 16 3-pointers, looking very much like a team firing on all cylinders. They led by as many as 33 points, allowing Kidd to rest his starters and empty the bench in the fourth quarter.
Paul Pierce (18 points, six assists), Garnett (12 points on 6-for-8 shooting) and Alan Anderson (15 points on 4-for-6 3-point range) had huge performances. So did Andray Blatche (20 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists) off the bench. Reserve Andrei Kirilenko (4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) was all over the court on both ends of the floor, too.
Offensively, the Nets were unselfish, cohesively working the ball around the perimeter and getting open looks. Defensively, they played tenaciously, limiting Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague to a combined 9-for-27 from the field.
FOR STARTERS: Johnson had 15 points in the first quarter. In his past five opening periods, Johnson has scored 55 points on 69.7 percent shooting with eight assists and no turnovers.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: Kyle Korver missed his first seven 3-pointers before finally getting one to go and extending his NBA-record streak to 108 consecutive games with a 3.
UP NEXT: The Nets fly home Friday morning. They then have the weekend to prepare for Monday afternoon's game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.