Johnson stars as Nets fly home victorious after putting on a show.
The Brooklyn Nets improved to 3-0 in regular season NBA games in London after their 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, in an entertaining clash which ends the NBA Global Games series for this season.
Joe Johnson scored 26 of his game-high 29 points in the first half, nailing two buzzer-beating three-pointers which were arguably the highlights of the game as the former Atlanta star dominated.
“We just exploited mismatches. I was just feeding off these guys,” Johnson said, as reported by ESPN. “We had a lot of ball movement and took a lot of open shots.”
It was an impressive performance from Jason Kidd’s side who had 20 points and 14 rebounds off Andray Blatche, as Paul Pierce added 18 points, Alan Anderson had 15 with Kevin Garnett contributing 12 points.
However, their task was made easier by some lacklustre defense from the Hawks, who stayed close through the first quarter but fell off the pace thereafter as the points dried up for point guard Jeff Teague.
Kyle Korver continued his three-point streak and extended his run to 108 consecutive games with a three-pointer made much to the delight of the crowd, although it wasn’t enough for Atlanta to threaten to stage a comeback.
Out-going NBA Commissioner David Stern insisted that London’s staging of the game was another success, and although he will hand the reins to Adam Silver next month, he is still very much in favour of promoting the game here further and perhaps starting a franchise in the English capital.
He revealed that Silver sees globalisation of the sport as one of his priorities moving forward, and although there were empty seats in the stands it is felt that London is the ideal base to bring the NBA to Europe.
The atmosphere has also attracted criticism from the US media, with ESPN pointing out that “the crowd seemed to save its loudest cheers for off-the-court action”, which unfortunately was true.
Nets star Andrei Kirilenko had bemoaned the travelling aspect in the build-up to the game, while it was evident that the gruelling schedule and promotional aspects of the visit would have made life difficult for both teams.
Nevertheless, Brooklyn were able to come away with a win and can perhaps use this mini training camp trip to their advantage as they look to re-group and continue their impressive form with the ultimate aim to secure playoff basketball.
The event was undoubtedly missing more star quality in the shape of the likes of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Al Horford, as the injured trio would have certainly added different dimensions to the game and made it more competitive.
However, while the general atmosphere perhaps failed to live up to expectation, the ardent NBA fans in the UK will be delighted to hear the league’s on-going commitment to maintaining their relationship with the English capital.