Johnson scores 29 in London
Guard has at least 20 points in four straight games
Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson (7) in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
LONDON (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets should think about making another franchise move — to London.
The Nets improved to 3-0 in regular-season NBA games in the British capital with a 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
Joe Johnson, who spent seven years with the Hawks, led the way for the Nets at the O2 Arena. The Brooklyn guard scored 26 of his game-high 29 points in the first half, and nailed two buzzer-beating 3-pointers.
"We just exploited mismatches. I was just feeding off these guys," Johnson said. "We had a lot of ball movement and took a lot of open shots."
Three years ago, the then-New Jersey Nets played two regular-season games at the same O2 Arena, located on the banks of the River Thames and the venue used for the gold medal basketball game at the 2012 London Olympics. They beat the Raptors in both those games.
Andray Blatche added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, while Paul Pierce contributed 18 points, Alan Anderson 15 and Kevin Garnett 12.
"The ball was moving, guys were looking for each other and finding each other," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "Joe has been off the charts. Not just last few games but the whole season."
Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack, both coming off the bench, led the Hawks with 17 points each. Jeff Teague scored 16 points, Paul Millsap had 13 and Pero Antic 11.
The Hawks stayed close for the first quarter, but the Nets started to pull away in the second. Anderson started an 8-0 run early in the quarter, with Pierce contributing two layups and Blatche finishing it off with a putback to make it 39-30.
"Their size and their length was a problem in a lot of different ways, and rebounding was just one of them," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Johnson ended the half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 65-53. And the Nets pulled further away in the third quarter, with Johnson again finishing it off with a buzzer-beating 3 to make it 99-74.
Although his scoring numbers dropped in the second half, Johnson has now scored 20 or more points in four straight games.
"We've got the best seat in the house," Garnett said of watching Johnson put up big numbers. "When you're so used to being in that situation yourself, it's great to have a guy who can just take over the game."
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