After leading for three quarters, the struggling Nets imploded defensively losing to the homestanding Hawks 93-84. Hawks forward Josh Smith scored 13 of his 30 points in the paint on an array of dunks, hooks and jumpers.
Throughout most of the first half, Nets coach Avery Johnson pleaded with his squad to get in the correct offensive positions. For the newly acquired Gerald Wallace struggling with the offensive sets was understandable but not for the other members of the team.
Deron Williams carried the Nets in the first half with 12 points of his team high 20 points. Kris Humphries was the only other Nets starter in double figures. Four Hawks starters scored in double figures led by Josh Smith’s 30 points.
Seven turnovers in the second half tossed the Nets hopes of winning a sixteenth game in the crapper. The front line of Humphries, Shelden Williams, and Wallace gave up 16 fourth quarter points in the paint. Gerald Green and Anthony Morrow chipped in 10 and 11 points off the bench. Morrow’s contribution came at the high price of inaccuracy. The swingman was 5 of 16 from the field including a dismal 1 of 5 in the final period.
Morrow wasn’t the only Nets player to suffer shooting woes in the fourth. As a team, the Nets shot 27.8% from the field over the final 12 minute span.
Play of the Night: Deron Williams attempt to posterize Hawks forward Ivan Johnson. Williams lost his defender and took off in an attempt to punch one from just outside the semi-circle over a stationary Johnson. Good thought – bad execution. At a rock-like 260 pounds Johnson didn’t cooperate as Williams attempted to lean towards the rim crashing and burning in the process (see pics in slideshow below). A dunker with a longer sleeve length, say about 42-44 inches, may have pulled off the spectacular play.
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