LONDON -- Brooklyn guard Paul Pierce and center Kevin Garnett have shared the court with numerous players with superior offensive skills. But the two NBA greats continue to be amazed when they see Nets teammate Joe Johnson on a hot streak.
"We've got the best seat in the house," Garnett said after watching Johnson score 29 points en route to a 127-110 Brooklyn victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in the NBA Global Game at O2 Arena. "It's good to have a guy who can take a Game over and you can sit back and enjoy it."
Johnson, who spent seven seasons with Atlanta, had 26 points at the half. He made 11 of 15 shots from the floor and was 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater to end the second and third quarters.
"I just tried to take what the defense gives me," Johnson said. "We all do a good job helping each other out."
"He's beautiful to watch," Pierce said. "When you have a teammate like that, it's fun."
The Nets have won six of their last seven games and beat the Hawks for the fourth time in five games. The win clinches the season series against Atlanta for the Nets, who beat the Hawks 91-86 on Jan. 6 in Brooklyn.
The Nets (16-22) also got 20 points forward Andray Blatche, who came off the bench and added a season-high 14 rebounds and six assists. Pierce added 18 points and six assists and guard Alan Anderson scored 15 points, including four 3-pointers.
Brooklyn raced to a 31-27 lead to end the first quarter and continued its hot shooting to take a 65-53 lead at halftime. The Nets shot 54.9 percent in the first half, making 28 of 51 from the floor, with Johnson getting 26 points.
"Their size and length made a lot of difference today," Budenholzer said. "And there's no doubt they shot the ball well."
The Nets continue to pour it on in the second half. They extended their lead to 25 points by the end of the third quarter thanks to Johnson's 3-pointer. The Nets led by as many as 33 points at 111-78 when Blatche made a 21-footer with 9:07 remaining.
"At halftime, I felt we were still in it," Budenholzer said. "We've got a competitive group and they tried to make it a competitive Game, but we weren't able to do that."
NOTES: The Hawks were without G DeMarre Carroll, who did not make the trip so he could be home with his girlfriend for the birth of their daughter. Lou Williams started in his place and picked up the 2,000th field goal of his career. ... Atlanta C Elton Brand moved into 62nd place on the NBA career rebound list with his first carom of the Game. Brand passed Terry Cummings with 8,630. ... Nets F Joe Johnson reached the 1,500 milestone for 3-pointers with his second successful attempt in the Game. Johnson has scored 20 or more points in his last four games, the first time he accomplished that feat in his tenure with the Nets. ... Both teams return to the United States for Martin Luther King Day games on Monday. Brooklyn plays at New York and Atlanta hosts Miami. ... Atlanta G Kyle Korver made a 3-point basket in his 108th consecutive game. Korver missed his first seven tries before connecting from the right wing with 8:29 remaining. ... Atlanta G James Nunnally, signed to a 10-day contract on Jan. 11, made his first career basket with 4:31 left in the Game. ... Rock icon Paul McCartney was one the many celebrities who attended the Game.