Williams, Nets beat Hawks in OT to tie series

Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Deron Williams came alive and the Nets
evened their first-round playoff series with the Hawks.

The maligned point guard didn’t just have his best offensive game of the
series.

It was his best in years.

After totaling just 18 points in the first three games, Williams poured in 35
on Monday night and No. 8-seeded Brooklyn beat Atlanta 120-115 in overtime to
tie the series at 2-2.

The Nets will take a two-game winning streak into Game 5 on Wednesday in
Atlanta, where they kept it close in two losses to open the series.

Williams carried them in this one, tying career playoff highs for points and
field goals made at 13. He hadn’t scored 35 points since going for 42 against
Washington in a game on March 8, 2013.

“It feels great to get the win, that’s the most important thing,” Williams
said. “This was a team win all the way. We fought and we scrapped. There was
never any let up.”

Brook Lopez added 26 points and 10 rebounds, Joe Johnson scored 17 and three
other Nets finished in double digits. They shot almost 48 percent from the
floor as a team and made 14-of-31 3-pointers, led by Williams’ seven

“They rallied around him,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “I think it was a
huge, huge step in unity for our team.”

The Hawks, who were done in by a poor shooting performance in Saturday’s Game
3, were much better from the field on Monday but blew a 12-point lead in the
second half.

DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague scored 20 points each in the loss, leading a
well-balanced effort by the starting five. Al Horford added 17 points and Paul
Millsap and Kyle Korver each scored 16 and grabbed a combined 23 rebounds.

“At this point, it’s important that when you get an opportunity, you take
advantage of it,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “Credit to them. They
made a lot of plays down the stretch. It’s a great challenge for us to go
home. This is the playoffs. This is what it’s all about.”

The Nets took the lead for good on Bojan Bogdanovic’s 3 with around 1 1/2
minutes left in overtime. Later, Korver missed three consecutive 3-point
attempts with a chance to tie the score for Atlanta. The second and third
shots came after Carroll secured offensive rebounds.

Williams had 33 points in regulation and made two foul shots down the stretch
in overtime to help Brooklyn hold on.

“What a basketball game that was,” said Hollins. “It was a dog fight.”

The Nets took their first lead since there were 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the
second quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Williams around five minutes into
the fourth.

They had a six-point lead on another Williams 3, but the Hawks clawed back and
tied the score with 16.4 seconds remaining on Millsap’s driving dunk.

As good as Williams was, he couldn’t win the game for Brooklyn in regulation.

He dribbled to the right baseline and got some distance on Kent Bazemore with
a pivot and a pump-fake, but his fadeaway shot hit off the rim.

The Hawks had 6.5 seconds remaining after securing the rebound and called a
timeout, but Millsap didn’t get into the lane soon enough to get a shot off
before the buzzer.

Williams scored 13 points in the first half, matching his high for the first
three games of the series. He had 11 in the first quarter, including five in a
row to help the Nets climb out of a seven-point hole.

“You can only contain that type of player for so long,” said Horford. “He came
out tonight and he was the difference.”

The Nets led by eight on Jarrett Jack’s runner early in the second but Atlanta
scored 11 of the next 13 on the way to building a six-point lead at halftime.

Atlanta’s lead reached 12 on Korver’s 18-footer with around four minutes left
in the third quarter and was eight entering the fourth.

Game Notes

Carroll scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half … Teague had 11 assists
… Bogdanovic scored 15 points for the Nets, Alan Anderson had 11 off the
bench and Thaddeus Young added 10 points and seven rebounds … The Hawks went
4-0 against the Nets in the regular season on the way to their seventh
consecutive postseason berth.