Sure enough, the Nets played hard and smart, but not well enough to win.
Teague scored 22 points, Joe Johnson added 21 and the Hawks won their third consecutive game to open the season, beating New Jersey 105-98 on Friday night.
“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.”
Deron Williams finished with 23 points and rookie MarShon Brooks added 21 to lead the Nets, who have dropped three in a row 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.”
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 called for a timeout.
“He got put in a bad situation,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said.
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.
Mehmet Okur added 15 points and Kris Humphries and Sundiata Gaines, a former Georgia star, each scored 10 for the Nets, who were coming off blowout losses to Atlanta and Orlando.