Joe Leads the way in London
By Jason Schott - BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Joe Johnson continued his hot shooting across the pond, leading the Nets to a blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks 127-110 in London on Thursday night.
Johnson had 29 points, 26 of which came in the first half, on 11-for-15 shooting, and a very impressive 6-for-8 from behind the arc. Johnson also had 5 assists.
The Nets had four other players in double figures. Andray Blatche had 20 points (10-for-18 FG), 14 rebounds, and 6 assists off the bench, continuing to prove to be the anchor of the second unit. Blatche looks as good as he has all season, and part of it is the fluidity in the offense created by Andrei Kirilenko. Blatche has had a much easier time getting open in the five games since he returned from his leave.
Among the starters, Paul Pierce had 18 points and 6 assists. Alan Anderson had 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting and 4-for-6 on three-pointers, quite impressive considering it seemed like he barely hit a three for the first two months of the season. Kevin Garnett also is finding the stroke again, as he shot 6-for-8 and finished with 12 points.
The Nets shot 58.2 percent from the field, or 53-for-91, and 59.3 percent (16-27) on three-pointers, and the team recorded 38 assists. They had 99 points in the first three quarters, taking a 25-point lead into the fourth. The sign the game was in hand was when Head Coach Jason Kidd sent in Tyshawn Taylor and Toko Shengelia with around eight minutes left.
The Nets are now 16-22, and have won six of seven this month. The run they are on is like the tear they went on last January when they hit their stride with some wins over weak opponents. In this streak, they have worked their way into a playoff spot and have some strong wins, with two against the Hawks, and victories over Miami, Oklahoma City, and Golden State.
With this trip, the Nets had six days off after their win over Miami last Friday in Brooklyn. The rest helped, as they looked as fresh as ever and, for the first time all season, ran what could be termed an up-tempo offense. They have three days off to account for their return home before taking on the Knicks on Monday afternoon at the so-called "World's Most Famous Arena." (Wonder if the Brits agree with that.)