Coming off an ugly loss in Boston, the New Jersey Nets dropped their eighth straight road game as they lost to the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night, 116-101, at Philips Arena. The Nets fell to 6-16 on the season.
Atlanta’s Josh Smith was unconscious on the night, scoring a season-high 34 points and hitting clutch baskets all night long.
The Nets defeated the Hawks in their last meeting in overtime two weeks ago, but Smith and company earned their revenge.
New Jersey came out strong early scoring the first five points and enjoying a 10-4 run. Brook Lopez scored seven points in the first six minutes, but Atlanta stayed close.
Jamal Crawford took over late in the first quarter, scoring eight points in five minutes. The Hawks closed the quarter on an 8-0 run and led 27-26.
With a combination of strong defense and Atlanta turnovers, the Nets went on their own 10-0 run early in the second quarter to retake the lead. Jordan Farmar continued his strong outside shooting by burying a few three-pointers. He scored eight points in nine minutes.
Crawford was at it again in the second quarter, hitting big shot after big shot. The Hawks opened up a 13-point lead after a 20-3 run. Atlanta led 60-47 at the half.
Josh Smith led all scorers with 19 first half points while Al Horford chimed in with 12. Crawford finished with 18 points in just over 17 minutes. Lopez led the Nets with 15 points, and Devin Harris added eight assists.
The third quarter opened with more sloppy play from New Jersey. The Hawks led by as many as 16, but the Nets gained some steam late cutting the lead to eight. But Atlanta surged in the final minute to lead 83-71.
The teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter which allowed Atlanta to maintain their 10 point lead for a while.
The Nets began chipping away midway through the fourth as they got some much needed defensive stops. They cut the lead to as little as five with three minutes left, but big shots by Horford and Crawford kept Atlanta comfortably ahead. They scored 40 points combined in the win.
Harris finished with a double-double, 16 points and 13 assists.
The schedule only gets tougher for the struggling Nets as they travel to Dallas to take on former Net Jason Kidd Thursday night.