Hawks forward Josh Smith celebrates his dunk in Friday’s game against the Nets, which Atlanta won, 105-98.
ATLANTA — Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks knew the New Jersey Nets wanted to get even after being routed earlier in the week.
Sure enough, the Nets played hard and smart, but not well enough to win.
“Guys were making shots for them,” Teague said. “In the first game, they weren’t making shots and made our defense look great. We played well, but I think we want to do a little better on the defensive end. I think everybody thought that, but we got a win, so we can’t complain.”
Teague scored 22 points, Joe Johnson added 21 and the Hawks won their third straight game to open the season, beating New Jersey 105-98 on Friday night.
Deron Williams finished with 23 points and rookie MarShon Brooks added 21 to lead the Nets, who have dropped three straight and fell to 1-3.
The Hawks, who earned a 36-point victory at New Jersey earlier this week, were in a tight game for the first time this season. Their biggest lead was nine early in the fourth quarter before Brooks’ 17-footer made it 95-94 with 2:18 remaining.
“They’re not all going to look that good,” Atlanta forward Marvin Williams said. “Tonight was definitely a good test for us before we went out on the road because I bet every road game we play is going to be just like that. It’s going to come down to the wire and we’re going to be in the game, so it was definitely a good test for us.”
After Williams’ reverse layup cut the lead to 98-96, New Jersey scored just one more field goal, but Brooks made a big mistake after Johnson’s 8-footer put the Hawks up 100-96 with 20.6 seconds remaining.
The Nets had no timeouts remaining as he was trying to make an inbound pass from the left sideline with his teammates covered, but Brooks signaled for a timeout.
“He got put in a bad situation,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “We had no timeouts left, and it’s on us as a coaching staff to do a better job of reminding him about that because he’s one of our best guys at taking the ball out. But it’s more than that, because Deron got double-teamed, and we should have had more guys coming at the ball.”
Brooks felt badly for the mistake.
“Coach pulled me to the side and said don’t worry about the decision I made,” Brooks said. “Just continue to play hard.”
After Brooks’ mistake, Johnson hit the ensuing technical free throw and closed the game with four more free throws on Atlanta’s final two possessions to end the scoring.
Mehmet Okur added 15 points and Kris Humphries and Sundiata Gaines each scored 10 for the Nets, who were coming off consecutive blowout losses to Atlanta and Orlando.
“It feels better,” Deron Williams said. “We took a step in the right direction. We were able to battle tonight. That’s a team that beat us by 30 at home two nights ago, so this is a much better effort.”
He had a solid second half, scoring 19 points, handing out five assists and pulling down two rebounds — the kind of performance he needed after averaging 10 points, six turnovers and four assists in the previous two games.
“I’m not getting much out of pick-and-rolls because teams are just sitting on me,” Deron Williams said. “I think ‘I-sos’ are going to be more effective until we figure out the pick-and-roll game. I was able to get something going and turn it around and hopefully get my confidence going.”
Al Horford finished with 12 points for Atlanta. Marvin Williams added 11 points and six rebounds, and Zaza Pachulia had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Teague put Atlanta ahead 98-94 with a three-point play after driving for a layup past Humphries and hitting the ensuing free throw with 1:58 remaining, but some of his better work came during a five-minute stretch of the third quarter in which he scored eight points and handed out three assists.
“I think when I’m playing aggressive, that’s when I’m at my best,” Teague said. “Sometimes I’ll miss guys on a couple of passes or things like that and they talk to me, but I just think that’s how I have to play. When I’m being casual, I think that’s when I’m not at my best and that hurts the team.”
Notes: The Nets used the same lineup for the second straight game with Gaines and Okur starting in place of Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro. ...Atlanta begins a three-game, four-night road trip Saturday at Houston. ... The Nets visit Cleveland on Sunday and return home to face Indiana on Monday.