LONDON – The Brooklyn Nets should think about making another franchise move — to London.
Brooklyn improved to 3-0 in regular-season NBA games in the British capital with a 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
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.
Last year, the New York Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons in the third regular-season game to be played in London.
Although the crowd seemed to save its loudest cheers for off-the-court action, both teams finished the game with five players scoring in double digits.
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. Pacers 117, Knicks 89
In Indianapolis, Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 28 points, Paul George added 25, and Indiana won its ninth straight at home.
The Pacers have won three in a row overall and still have the NBA’s best record and the league’s top home mark (20-1).
Indiana leads idle Miami by four games in the chase for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
Carmelo Anthony had 18 of his 28 points in the first quarter to lead New York. Thunder 104, Rockets 92
In Houston, Kevin Durant scored 36 points and Reggie Jackson added 23 to lift Oklahoma City to a victory over the Rockets.
Serge Ibaka contributed 21 points and 15 rebounds in the win.
James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 16 points each for Houston in the loss.