Hawks vs. Nets: After Rough 1st Quarter, New Jersey Clamps Down On D and Wins

Ryan ComstockCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2010

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

After the first 12 minutes of play, it appeared the New Jersey Nets may be in for a long day against the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta shot 64 percent and scored 30 points in the opening frame while New Jersey scored 23 points. The Nets did shoot 53 percent in the first quarter, but it did not seem like they would be able to stop the Hawks at all.

Then, throughout the next three quarters, New Jersey held their opponent under 30 percent from the floor and outscored the Hawks 66-52. After the first, Atlanta did not score more than 20 points in any period and was even held to just 13 in the second.

The final score was 89-82 in favor of the Nets.

New Jersey also had a 46-39 rebounding advantage, including 10-7 on the offensive glass. Their rebounding has been superb lately and that continued Sunday.

The Nets were a bit sloppy in the first half with 12 turnovers, but had just four the rest of the way, finishing with 16.

The game was newcomer Sasha Vujacic's first home appearance with the Nets and he came through for them, scoring 10 points and hitting 2-of-4 three-pointers. He also had six rebounds and played excellent defense, deflecting several passes and even getting three steals.

New Jersey will need Vujacic to continue hitting threes at a decent rate with Anthony Morrow out the next few weeks.

Troy Murphy saw his first extended action in a while and played well, perhaps earning himself more playing time.

Murphy went 4-for-7 from the field, scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in 22 minutes. He was on the floor for most of the second half, as it seems he gained the trust of coach Avery Johnson.

New Jersey's best player in the game was Devin Harris, who scored 22 points, dished out eight assists and even brought down six rebounds. He was 8-of-18 from the floor and was very aggressive in driving to the basket, repeatedly drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line, where he was 6-of-9.

Brook Lopez hit only 5-of-15 shots, but still had an overall good game. He got to the free throw line seven times, hit six of his shots from there and totaled six boards. He does need to do a better job of handling double teams, although that should come with time.

The Nets don't have a ton of firepower on offense, so defensive efforts like this are what will win them games.

They have also been much better in their last three games of attempting to break out on offense after missed baskets and it has led to some easy points.

The team now has a day off before traveling to Memphis on Tuesday, where they will look to keep the good times rolling.