The Hawks' Jacque Vaughn grabs for a loose ball from Kerry Kittles.
When Kenyon Martin and the Nets instead set a more controlled
pace in their half-court offense, the Hawks lost their edge and the
game, 100-85 Saturday night.
While the Nets looked fresh despite playing for the second
straight night, the Hawks still showed the effects of a five-game
road trip that ended Wednesday.
"They didn't have that much more energy than us, we just didn't
have any," said Hawks guard Jason Terry. "That's why we lost."
Added Terry: "We were lulled into their style of play. They set
the tone. At no point in this league can you let somebody come into
your gym and set the tone for you. And they did that."
Setting the tone for the Nets were Martin, who posted his third
straight double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and center
Alonzo Mourning, who in only 12 minutes scored 10 points and left Atlanta's Theo Ratliff and Nazr Mohammed in foul trouble.
The Hawks led by seven points midway through the second period
when Nets coach Byron Scott called his team to the bench and
complained about poor shot selection.
"I started yelling to those guys about going inside," Scott
said. "That changed the game."
As Ratliff and then Mohammed left the game in foul trouble,
Mourning scored eight straight points on free throws.
"(Mourning) comes in so hard it's hard to stop him unless you
hold him," Scott said.
At the end of Mourning's streak of free throws, the Nets led
Frustrated by their mounting foul troubles, the Hawks went more
than seven minutes without a field goal. Terry ended the drought
with less than one minute left before halftime, but by that time
the Nets had the lead for good.
Hawks coach Terry Stotts said the officials gave Mourning star
"The Nets went to Zo and I thought he got the benefit of the
doubt in some of his post-ups," Stotts said. "We could have been
more physical, but I thought he got the benefit of the doubt,
Mohammed finished the first half with four fouls and Ratliff was
called for his fourth in the first minute of the second half.
Mourning says he is still learning the New Jersey offense but
says he doesn't mind playing limited minutes behind starting center
"I just want my minutes to be productive," Mourning said.
"I'm not used to playing like that, but I told (Scott) I will
adapt to whatever you want me to do."
While Martin missed five games early this month with a sprained
left ankle, the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions
fell to 3-5. But Martin had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets
beat the New York Knicks on Friday night, and he again played a leading role against Atlanta.
Terry led the Hawks with 24 points, 20 in the second half.
Game Notes: Over a span of six games before Saturday night, New
Jersey's Kerry Kittles had 20 steals -- an average of 3.33 per game.
Kittles had one steal against Atlanta. ... The Hawks, returning
from a five-game road trip, were playing only their third home game
of the season. ... Dion Glover is the only Atlanta player to score
in double figures in all 10 games.