x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Brooklyn Nets enjoying New Year turnaround

Brooklyn, following a disastrous start to the season, won their third game in a row since the calendar turned on Monday night, beating the Atlanta Hawks 91-86.

Joe Johnson scored 22 points for the Nets on Monday night. Elsa / Getty Images / AFP
Joe Johnson scored 22 points for the Nets on Monday night. Elsa / Getty Images / AFP

NEW YORK // If only the Brooklyn Nets could get a mulligan on that 2013 part of the 2013/14 season.

They are perfect in the new year, looking more like the team that was the heavy Atlantic Division favourite than the one that were 10-21 through December.

“We’re undefeated this year,” swingman Alan Anderson said. “So as long as we just keep that rolling, man, we know we’ve got a couple of tough games ahead of us, but like I said, take it one game at a time, one practice at a time, and keep building.”

Joe Johnson snapped out of a slump with 23 points against his former team, and the Nets matched a season high with their third straight victory by beating the Atlanta Hawks 91-86 on Monday night.

Mirza Teletovic scored 16 points and Anderson added 14 starting in place of the injured Deron Williams as the Nets moved to 2-0 on a four-game homestand that finishes with visits from Golden State on Wednesday and Miami on Friday.

Despite yet another injury to a key player, the Nets look ready to test themselves against those powerful teams after matching their three consecutive victories from December 7-12.

“We’re going to have our hands full, but we’ve got to come with the same effort that we have since 2014 started,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.

Paul Millsap scored 16 points for the Hawks, who lost their third in a row to equal their worst stretch of the season. Jeff Teague also had 16 but shot 5-of-15 from the field.

“We felt like we could (get over the hump) and a few things didn’t go our way,” Millsap said. “But still we fought to the end. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to work on our fundamentals.”

Williams missed his 12th game this season after his ankle swelled Sunday. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday.

But the Nets got solid guard play from Shaun Livingston, who scored 12. And they got clutch play from Johnson, who had been held in single digits in five straight games for the first time in 11 years – though he did hit the winning shot in one of those, a victory at Oklahoma City on Thursday that started the win streak.

“Jason told me I was going to have to pick it up,” Johnson said. “And he told me in the fourth quarter when I came back in that he wanted me to be very assertive and make plays and kind of take over the game, which is what I tried to do.”

He finished 10-of-22, making the go-ahead three-pointer with 6:21 remaining.

The Hawks rebounded from a dreadful start to the second half to grab a 78-77 lead on DeMarre Carroll’s dunk with 6:38 left in the game. Johnson answered with a 3-pointer on the next possession, Livingston had a steal and dunk, and Johnson nailed another jumper to cap the run of seven straight points and make it 84-78 with 3:37 to go.

Johnson, traded to the Nets in the summer of 2012, made another jumper with 2:12 left, then made a huge play after Atlanta had trimmed it to two, finding the Bosnian forward Teletovic in the corner for a three-pointer and 89-84 lead with 44 seconds remaining.

The teams meet again on January 16 in London in what’s considered a home game for the Hawks.

Kyle Korver needed little time to extend his NBA-record streak with a three-pointer to 104 games, hitting with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter.

The Hawks scored the final 11 points of the first half, capped by Millsap’s three-pointer with 28 seconds left, to take a 52-46 advantage.

But the Nets stormed out with the first 14 of the third quarter. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer angrily knocked his clipboard onto the court while reaching for it after calling one timeout, then was hit with a technical foul on a subsequent possession after redirecting his rage from his players to the referees.

Anderson made a jumper and then consecutive three-pointers to cap the spurt and make it 60-52. The Nets led 72-67 following three three-pointers by Teletovic late in the third.

“I think the game really changed coming out of the third quarter,” Budenholzer said. “They went on a big run. We went from up six to down six. I think in a lot of ways that’s where the game was won.”


Timberwolves 126, 76ers 95

Kevin Love scored 26 points while Nikola Pekovic had 16 points and 14 rebounds as the power forward duo helped Minnesota roll to a lop-sided victory that ended Philadelphia’s season-high four-game winning streak.

Love went 4-for-7 from three-point range, part of a 16-for-26 barrage by Minnesota from distance. Kevin Martin, who finished with 18 points, sank three three-pointers, as did Corey Brewer and JJ Barea.

Minnesota (17-17), who led by as many as 33 points in the second half, beat Philadelphia for the fifth straight time.

Thaddeus Young, just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, paced Philadelphia with 20 points but the Sixers (12-22) turned the ball over 23 times.

Clipers 101, Magic 81

Los Angeles fed off a dismal shooting night by Orlando and cruised to a 20-point victory to improve to 24-13.

DeAndre Jordan scored 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for the Clippers while Darren Collison led the team with 21 points, adding seven assists and four steals.

Blake Griffin provided 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in the win.

The Magic shot just 3.57 per cent (30-for84) as a team, with starters Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic and Jameer Nelson combining to go just 5-for-34 (14.7 per cent).

Small forward Maurice Harkless (22 points on 7-of-13 shooting, six rebounds) and rookie Victor Oladipo (22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, eight rebounds, five assists) provided bright spots.