Nets Play Better, But Still Fall To Hawks Again

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 30: Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets shoots over Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 30, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Nets' offense finally showed some life on Friday in Atlanta, but it wasn't enough, as they fell to the Hawks for the second time in four days, 105-98. It was a game marked by a brilliant performance --and a rookie mistake-- by MarShon Brooks.

The Hawks took control when the Nets went almost five minutes without a score in the middle of the second quarter. The Nets were within one a couple of times in the third, but never got over the hump, and the Hawks led by as many as nine points early in the fourth.

The Nets got within one late in the game and had the ball down two twice in the final minutes, but Anthony Morrow and Deron Williams both missed on drives that would have tied the game. Joe Johnson then drove around Brooks to put the Hawks back up four.

After a timeout, Brooks couldn't find an open man on the the throw-in and called another timeout. Problem was the Nets didn't have any left, sealing the game for Atlanta.

Avery Johnson didn't blame Brooks, saying the coaching staff should have better prepared him, adding, "I saw all good with Marshon tonight." In fact, Williams said the lack of timeouts wasn't discussed in the earlier timeout. Brooks said Johnson took him aside afterwards and told him, "Don't worry about the decision I made. Just continue to play hard." Later Brooks himself tweeted, "dammit Rookie".

The Nets shot 46 percent from the field, their first game above 40% and hit nine of their 20 threes, three by Morrow. But Atlanta shot 48 percent and got to the line 38 times.

Williams had just four points and one assist at halftime, but came alive in the third quarter and finished with 23 points and six assists. Brooks finished with 21 points off the bench, giving him 55 in the last three; Mehmet Okur scored 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting; and Kris Humphries recorded his second double-double of the season. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 22 points and six assists.

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