NEWARK, N.J. — After waiting as long as anyone to start the season, the Atlanta Hawks combined athleticism, depth and a stingy defense to spoil the Nets’ final home opener in New Jersey and to show everyone they will contend in this lockout-shortened season.
Marvin Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds and the Hawks opened a double-digit lead early and cruised to a 106-70 victory that had Nets’ fans booing by halftime and chanting for the Brooklyn-bound team to make a trade for Orlando center Dwight Howard.
“Our guys came out to play and they played with a lot of energy from the start,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We put the pressure on them from the start and played like that the whole game. I’m really pleased with the team effort. Having six guys in doubles is a great sign of playing like a team. We’ve been preaching since camp that we have to play together.”
Entering Tuesday, only Atlanta and Utah had not played a game, and the Hawks wanted to take advantage of that since the Nets (1-1) had played in Washington the night before.
“This was big,” said newcomer Tracy McGrady, who added 12 points. “We knew that they played last night and we had to come out with fresh legs. We wanted to start out the season the right way, especially with the amount of games we have. We have nine games in 12 days, so every game counts in this cramped season. But this was a good start.”
The Hawks’ defense was spectacular, holding held New Jersey to 31 percent shooting.