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Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012

Hawks retain hold over Nets


NEWARK, New Jersey — The Atlanta Hawks have seen the New Jersey Nets so much this season, it has the feeling of a playoff series, and a sweep at that.

News photo
Hang time: New York's Iman Shumpert goes up for a layup in the first half against Charlotte on Monday night. The Knicks beat the Bobcats 91-87. AP

Josh Smith scored a season-high 26 points and the Hawks shot nearly 54 percent from the field in beating the Nets for the third time this season, 106-101 on Monday night.

"It's always toughest to play a team a third time around," said Smith, who was 10 of 14 from the field in topping his season-high for the second straight game. "It almost had the feel of being a semi-playoff game. We took over the game early, but they put their best effort for us. They always play hard. I just didn't want to get disappointed and lose this one. This is probably the best game I've played here."

It might have been one of the Nets' better games, too. They've had a habit of falling behind early and never coming close.

This time they made the Hawks work for the victory.

The teams will finish their four-game series on March 23 in Atlanta. The Nets should have center Brook Lopez back in the lineup. He has missed the start of the season with a broken foot and it has forced New Jersey to take more shots from the outside. They hit only five in the first quarter and had to play catch up the rest of the way.

"They're an improving team, even though they're missing a big piece in Brook," said Joe Johnson, who added 22 points for the Hawks, including six in a fourth-quarter run that gave some late breathing room. "Each game with them has been tough. They don't make it easy for us."

Anthony Morrow had 20 points and rookie MarShon Brooks 19 as the Nets (2-8) remained winless in four games at home. Deron Williams added 15 points and 14 assists, but he also had six of the Nets' 16 turnovers and was 6 of 17 from the field.

Knicks 91, Bobcats 87

In New York, Carmelo Anthony shook off a poor shooting night to make the tiebreaking basket with 2:39 remaining and score 22 points, and the Knicks avenged an embarrassing loss to Charlotte.

Amare Stoudemire also shot poorly but had 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Tyson Chandler finished with 20 points and 13 boards. Anthony was only 6 of 18 from the field, but scored eight of the Knicks' final nine points.

Raptors 97, Timberwolves 87

In Toronto, Andrea Bargnani matched his season-high with 31 points, Amir Johnson had a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double and the Raptors beat Minnesota.

In the first meeting between Spanish point guards Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio, the Toronto veteran finished with a narrow edge over the Minnesota rookie. Calderon had 14 points, six assists and three rebounds in 40 minutes, while Rubio had 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes.

Bulls 92, Pistons 68

In Chicago, Carlos Boozer scored 23 points and the Bulls beat Detroit for their 13th consecutive win against the Pistons.

Derrick Rose added 22 points and eight assists for Chicago.

76ers 96, Pacers 86

In Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala scored 20 points and Lou Williams added 13 to help the 76ers beat the Pacers.

Hornets 94, Nuggets 81

In Denver, Carl Landry scored 21 points, Chris Kaman added 20 and the Hornets beat the Nuggets.

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