The Brooklyn Nets made sure they made their trip across the pond to London one that they wouldn’t forget, and doing so with a dominating performance against the Atlanta Hawks.
Joe Johnson paced the Nets scoring barrage with 29 points – including 26 in the first half in a 127-110 blowout over the Hawks in front of a packed O2 Arena crowd on Thursday afternoon.
The franchise is also seemingly enjoying the confines of playing in the British capital. They’ve won all three games they’ve participated in the NBA’s London Series as part of the league’s attempt of marketing the game on the global stage.
Thanks to Johnson, Brooklyn left little doubt what the outcome of this contest would be. The Nets jumped out to a double-digit lead that they never relinquished. Johnson was the catalyst during the stretch, closing out the half with a buzzer-beating three pointer and a 65-53 lead.
Even as the Hawks tried to make a second half push, Brooklyn kept Atlanta at bay by exploiting their defense by getting quick and easy drives to the basket. Johnson added to the festivities with another buzzer-beating 3-ball to close out the third period scoring while extending the Nets lead to 99-74.
Andray Blatche added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, while Paul Pierce contributed 18 points, Alan Anderson 15 and Kevin Garnett 12 for Brooklyn, which now heads back to New York for a showdown with the rival Knicks on Dr. Martin Luther King Day on Monday.
“We got a little rest and we’re able to come out and put on a great performance,” Johnson told the YES Network afterwards. “I’m glad we came over here on this long flight and got us a good win.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd, who was making his second consecutive trip to London a year after doing so as a member of the Knicks’ roster, agreed.
“The ball was moving, guys were looking for each other and finding each other,” said Kidd. “Joe has been off the charts. Not just last few games but the whole season.”
Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack led the Hawks with 17 points each.