The Atlanta Hawks needed all 48 minutes, but in the end, their performance was enough to topple the Brooklyn Nets, and in the process, keep their hopes alive for a potential lottery pick. Joe Johnson's potential game-tying three-pointer went begging in the final seconds, and the Hawks escaped New York with a 114-111 win.
Early in the night, things were going very well for the road team. Atlanta built a 17-6 lead in the opening minutes, and the Hawks shot a blistering 61% from the field on the way to a 33-26 lead after one quarter. In the second quarter, the Nets mounted a bit of a comeback, courtesy of a 12-3 run to climb within one, but the Hawks replied with a 12-3 spurt of their own to stretch the advantage back to double figures.
At the break, Atlanta led by a score of 65-56, and the offense was cooking. Al Horford (15 points) and Mike Scott (14 points) led the way in scoring, while Jeff Teague was distributing the ball nicely (9 points, 8 assists). On the defensive end, the Nets were able to shoot 50% from the field, something that Mike Budenholzer couldn't be pleased with, but the road team shot 59% from the field and 40% from three to keep the advantage.
Brooklyn, again, tried to make a comeback in the third quarter, almost immediately slashing the lead to five points in the opening minutes. However, the Hawks were able to keep them at bay with some help from DeMarre Carroll (10 points on 3-for-4 shooting in the period), and the prospects were positive as the fourth quarter opened.
Then, the Nets actually made their push.
Brooklyn produced an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just four points (105-101) with fewer than six minutes remaining, and that was just the start. The Nets kept coming, taking their first lead of the night on a layup by old friend Joe Johnson with 3:39 remaining, and at that point, Brooklyn had outscored Atlanta 27-14 in the fourth quarter.
From there, it was a back and forth game throughout the final minutes, with Teague making a big basket sandwiched between an awful shot and a traveling violation. His late-game antics produced some tension, and Deron Williams gave the Netes the lead at 111-110 with 33.5 seconds left with a finish off the glass.
Following that bucket, Mike Budenholzer drew up a beautiful play in a timeout, creating an Al Horford dunk off of a great pass by Korver, who attracted maximum attention, and with 19 seconds left, the Hawks held a one-point lead. In their last attempt, Brooklyn missed two threes, courtesy of Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic, in the final ten seconds, and after Jeff Teague made two free throws on the other end, Johnson's potential heart-breaker clanged off the rim to secure the three-point win.
This was, quite obviously, a very important win for the Atlanta Hawks. With the defeat, the Nets fall into a tie for the 8th seed in the East with the Boston Celtics at 36-42, and they are just one game clear of missing the playoffs with four games remaining. On a normal night, the Hawks may have rested just about everyone, but this one meant something, and while it was closer than it should have been, Atlanta made plays when necessary to grab their 59th win of the season.