Nets Fall To Atlanta 105-93, Miss Out On First-Place Tie
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NEW YORK (AP) — Al Horford had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks dominated the fourth quarter as they defeated Brooklyn 105-93 on Sunday night, keeping the Nets from tying for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Atlanta’s Josh Smith added 21 points and seven boards for the Hawks, who won their third straight by outscoring the Nets 34-20 in the final period. Neither team led by more than six points over the first three quarters and the game was tied with under 9 minutes to play before Atlanta broke it open with a 19-6 run.
Reggie Evans had a season-high 14 points and grabbed 22 rebounds for the Nets, who headed out for an eight-game road trip on a disappointing note. A victory would have moved them even with the slumping New York Knicks atop their division.
Deron Williams and former Hawks guard Joe Johnson each added 18 points.
The Hawks earned a split of the season series, preventing the Nets from clinching a potentially important tiebreaker between teams batting for position in the Eastern Conference. The Nets entered play fourth in the East, while the Hawks were two games back as part of a three-way tie for fifth.
Williams’ basket tied it at 77 with 9:11 remaining in the game, but Jeff Teague had consecutive baskets before finding Ivan Johnson on the break for a three-point play that made it 84-77.
Mirza Teletovic made a 3-pointer, but Atlanta answered with a 12-3 spurt, ending it with eight straight points to push the lead to 96-83 on Horford’s jumper with 4:24 to play.
Teague came off the bench for the second straight game after missing his first game of the season Wednesday against the Lakers because of a sprained left ankle. He finished with 11 points and 15 assists.
The Nets’ road trip, equaling the longest in team history in terms of games, starts Monday in Detroit. They may have another chance to forge the tie with the Knicks, who had a six-game lead in the division after beating the Nets on Dec. 19 but have lost four in a row.
The Knicks play at Utah on Monday.
The Nets, who lost for the second time in six games, will be making way for a lengthy run of the circus at Barclays Center. They don’t play at home again until April 4, with the bulk of the trip a six-game stretch against Western Conference teams.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first half. The Nets were ahead 24-21 after one quarter and led most of the second, but the Hawks took a 51-49 lead into halftime after DeShawn Stevenson made a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock was set to expire with 9.8 seconds remaining before the break.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)