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No Deron Williams, no problem; Nets win third straight, beat Hawks 91-86


BROOKLYN - The Nets entered Monday's game against the Atlanta Hawks with a little momentum, having won two straight games, but were down their superstar point guard, Deron Williams, who missed the game due to a left ankle sprain. Alan Anderson started alongside Shaun Livingston with Williams out.

Nothing has gone right for the Nets this year, and even as they seemed to be getting on the right track, Williams goes down for what could be an extended period of time. Thankfully, the Nets stayed the course, winning their third straight game, 91-86, and moving to 13-21 on the season.

The offense ran through Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson early, as they scored 13 of the team's first 19 points. Andrei Kirilenko came off the bench to have a big impact in the first, on both sides of the floor, being disruptive on defense and active off the offensive glass. He continues to show just how important he is to this team, even while limited.

Brooklyn shot 45.5 percent from the floor in the first, taking a 27-21 lead heading into the second quarter by holding the Hawks to 38.1 percent and forcing seven turnovers.

In the second, the Nets let the Hawks climb back into the game a bit, watching their lead slip to three at the midway mark in the quarter. They were struggling from beyond the arc, making just one of 11 3-point attempts in the half, and while they tried to force the ball into the middle, the Hawks adjusted well on defense and were able to take the lead just before the half, 52-46.

Brooklyn opened up the third on a 14-0 run, putting to rest any possible third quarter struggle. Alan Anderson had eight points in the first five minutes of the third, and the Hawks didn't score until the 6:45-mark in the quarter when Kyle Korver hit three free throws.

Atlanta followed up the Nets' run with a 9-3 run of their own, before Mirza Teletovic buried a three to restore some order. The Nets won the quarter 26-15 and carried a 72-67 lead into the fourth.

It started to unravel, though, in the first half of the fourth as the Nets got sloppy, turing the ball over, allowing the Hawks to get out in the open court and putting them on the line. Atlanta saw Pierce go ice cold and Evans do, well, what Evans does -- miss his man on defense, turn the ball over and find himself out of place on offense. Kidd called a timeout after the Nets lost the lead, 78-77, and returned Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson to the lineup.

With the starters back in, they went on a 5-0 run in a matter of 15 seconds to regain the lead, 82-78. Johnson and Teletovic remained hot and with some great effort defense down the stretch, the Nets pulled away and won, 91-86.

Teletovic finished with 16 points (with four three-pointers) off the bench, while Johnson led the team with 23 points in 34 minutes. Kirilenko played 21 minutes, which is a personal best since coming back from injury, and finished with eight points, three rebounds and four assists.

Next up for the Nets, Wednesday night at home against the Warriors.

For more on the Hawks, see: Peachtree Hoops