WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets shot over 40 percent for the first time this season and scored a season-high 98 points, but still lost their third straight game, falling to the Hawks, 105-98, on Friday night at Phillips Arena. It’s New Jersey’s second lost to Atlanta this week. The Hawks blew the Nets (1-3) out by 36 in their home opener on Tuesday night.
D-WILL: Deron Williams, who came in shooting 28.9 percent with 16 turnovers, had 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. He also added six assists. The 27-year-old point guard began to pick it up in the third quarter, slicing to the rim with a dazzling array of crossovers and spin moves. Williams had a chance to tie the game at 96 with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but he missed a reverse layup, and Joe Johnson drove past MarShon Brooks for a bucket on the other end, making it a two-possession game with 21 seconds remaining. Williams rolled his left ankle when he landed on Jeff Teague’s right foot after taking a jump shot early in the third quarter. He had to sit out early in the fourth but didn’t miss a beat when he returned.
WELCOME HOME: Brooks, who grew up near Atlanta, continues to fill it up off the bench. Coming off back-to-back 17-point efforts, the 22-year-old rookie first-round pick went for a career-high 21 points in 28 minutes on Friday night. After Johnson’s bucket, though, Brooks called a timeout the Nets didn’t have a la Chris Webber, and the Hawks received a technical free throw and possession. Georgia Tech product Anthony Morrow also gave the Nets some production off the pine, draining three 3-pointers.
THRIVING IN THE THIRD: The Nets erupted for a season-high 35 points in the third quarter on 13-for-19 shooting. Reserve Shelden Williams accounted for six of the last eight points of the period -- including a hammer dunk off a pick-and-roll and a buzzer-beating jumper.
MEMO: It took four games, but Mehmet Okur finally discovered his perimeter stroke. The 32-year-old Turkish center, who went 1-for-9 in his first two games with the Nets, knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
BOOBIRDS CONTINUE: Kris Humphries fought through the boos from the Atlanta crowd to post 10 points and 13 rebounds.
HERE’S A FIRST: In what was one of their biggest accomplishments of the young season, the Nets trailed 20-19 after the first quarter. It was the first time in their first four games the Nets didn’t trail by at least 12 points entering the second. New Jersey entered the game ranked last in the NBA in first-quarter scoring (13.3 ppg) and field goal percentage (24.2 percent). They were 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) in the opening stanza. Their 19 points was a season-high.
START ME UP: Coach Avery Johnson elected to go with the same starting five he went with in Orlando: D-Will and Sundiata Gaines in the backcourt; and Damion James, Humphries and Okur up front.
PLAYS OF THE GAME: For the Hawks it was Marvin Williams buzzer-beating heave from midcourt at the end of the first half. For the Nets it was D-Will’s spin and layup in the third quarter.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Nets, who came in making just 25.4 percent of their 3-pointers, went 9-for-20 from downtown against the Hawks. The NBA's worst field goal shooting team coming in (36.6 percent), the Nets shot 46.3 percent overall. The Hawks had 38 free throw attempts to the Nets' 14.
UP NEXT: Nets at Cavaliers, Sunday night, 6 p.m.
You can follow Mike Mazzeo on Twitter.