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Nets put on show in London

Joe Johnson rises for a jumper in the Nets' 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks in London.
Joe Johnson rises for a jumper in the Nets' 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks in London.Nathaniel Butler/Getty Images

The Nets made a case for playing all their home games in London.

During a matinee tip-off in front of a British crowd, the Brooklyn Nets dominated the Atlanta Hawks in front of an international audience. Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche paced the Nets in a 127-110 rout.

Johnson led the Nets with 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

“It’s fun to watch and you really feed off of that, because you’ve been used to being that guy your whole career, so when you have a teammate who can do that, it’s fun,” said Paul Pierce, who scored 18 points. “I feed off of it. Teammates feed off of it. The crowd feeds off of it and the good part about is the guys want him to keep going.”

The game never remained in doubt as the Nets exploded on the offensive end. The Nets tallied a staggering 38 assists on 53 field goals, but as head coach Jason Kidd always says, the defense kickstarted the offense. Although the final score looks misleading, the Nets led by as many as 31 points.

In the first quarter, the Nets suffocated the Hawks on defense and enabled some easy looks at the other end. The Nets limited two of the Hawks key scorers in Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver to a combined 6-for-23 shooting.

Johnson jumped out to another quick start with 15 points in the first quarter, and Kidd sang Johnson’s praises for his effort throughout the entire season.

“Joe’s been off the charts, not just the last few games, but the whole season,” Johnson said. “He’s been big for us. To have a player like that to be able to coach is a blessing.”

Blatche added 20 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists for a Nets’ offense that shot 58.2 percent from the field.

For the second time in January, the Nets blasted the third-seeded Hawks. In a weakened Eastern Conference, the Nets proved that they boast the kind of talent necessary to at least secure a higher seed heading into the playoffs.

Obviously, injuries remain a concern as the team will finish the season without center Brook Lopez, and Deron Williams continues to experiences ankle problems. Point guard Shaun Livingston continued to guide the Nets’ offense, leading them to a 4-1 record in Williams’ absence.

With any good luck for the remaining starters, the Nets displayed their talented makeup overseas in London.