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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Hawks 116, Nets 101

By Mike Mazzeo

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets still haven't won a road game in ages. They lost their eighth straight game away from home -- and fifth straight overall -- Tuesday night, 116-101, to an Atlanta Hawks squad that was without All-Star swingman Joe Johnson. The Nets (6-16) have now dropped 16 of 20 and currently find themselves in the basement of not only the Atlantic Division, but also the Eastern Conference. And for the record, they're now a 2-10 road team.

SECOND-QUARTER WOES: For the second straight game, the Nets were done in by a dismal second quarter. They led by as much as 38-31 with 7:30 left in the second, but the Hawks closed the stanza on a 29-9 run to take a 13-point edge to the break. It seems impossible really, that a team could score 29 points in that short amount of time, but Atlanta did. And it did so with seemingly everyone on its roster contributing -- most notably high-flyer Josh Smith, who finished the evening with a season-high 34 points on 14-for-16 shooting. Meanwhile, the Nets mustered just four field goals in that stretch, including one in the final 4:20.

New Jersey trailed by as many as 16 in the third quarter before eventually cutting its deficit to as little as five late in the fourth. But the Hawks (15-8) -- who played a much taller lineup with Johnson out, featuring Marvin Williams at small forward and ex-Net Jason Collins at center -- answered with back-to-back field goals from four-man Al Horford to put the game away for good. Atlanta has now won six of seven and improved to 4-1 without Johnson.

STAR OF THE GAME: For the Nets, we'll give it to a somewhat-deserving Brook Lopez. The 22-year-old center put in a team-high 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting after being held to just five points and six rebounds in the Nets' 100-75 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics on Sunday. And it was well-documented that Lopez had drawn the ire of head coach Avery Johnson after snagging just two boards in his team's 91-84 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. He only pulled down five in this one, but at least the point production and the aggressiveness on the offensive end was where it needed to be.

SOUTHERN COMFORT: No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors was one Net ecstatic to be back in Atlanta. Favors grew up there, ultimately attending South Atlanta High School and spending one year at Georgia Tech. He decided to forgo his final three years of eligibility and go to the NBA. The athletic 19-year-old scored four points while adding five rebounds in 24 minutes.

HARRIS LOOKIN' GOOD: Point guard Devin Harris looked like he had much more lateral quickness against the Hawks than he did versus the Celtics. The point guard, who had missed two games with a strained left knee, finished with 18 points and 13 assists in 37 minutes.

WILLIAMS PROMOTED: Terrence Williams is back. He was promoted up to the big club after spending three games in NBDL purgatory, the result of his punishment for being repeatedly late to practice. He'll join the Nets Wednesday in Dallas. Williams averaged 28 points in the D-League.

UP NEXT: Johnson gets to make his return against the team he used to coach, the Dallas Mavericks (16-4). The Mavericks, who Johnson led to four consecutive 50-win seasons and an NBA Finals appearance during his tenure there, trail the first-place San Antonio Spurs (17-3) by a game in the Southwest Division.