The Atlanta Hawks took a fast-paced approach to ending their worst slump of the season: Run, run and then run some more.
Jeff Teague had a career-high 28 points and 11 assists, Zaza Pachulia finished two assists shy of a triple-double and the short-handed Hawks beat Brooklyn 109-95 on Wednesday night to stop the Nets’ seven-game winning streak.
The Hawks, who had lost six of seven, played without leading scorer Josh Smith. The forward was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for ”conduct detrimental to the team” following an incident in practice Tuesday.
The loss of Smith, also the team’s second-leading rebounder, left Atlanta undersized against the Nets and their 7-foot center, Brook Lopez.
Led by Teague, the Hawks adjusted by outrunning the Nets. Atlanta had a 29-12 advantage in fast-break points.
”They ran it down our throats the entire game,” Brooklyn interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
The Hawks almost doubled their point total from Monday night’s 97-58 loss at Chicago.
”Obviously, everybody was embarrassed by the effort we gave in the last game,” said Devin Harris, who had 18 points.
The Hawks ran out to an early 13-4 lead and never trailed.
”Early you could see that the energy was there,” coach Larry Drew said. ”They came out and took the attack to Brooklyn. You have to play like that when you’ve been struggling.”
Pachulia had 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists. Al Horford had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Lopez had 22 points for the Nets, who lost for only the second time in 11 games under Carlesimo. Brooklyn, playing back-to-back nights following a home win over Toronto on Tuesday, shot just 4 of 26 on 3-pointers.
”We’re flat-out exhausted,” Carlesimo said.
But he added that blaming the loss on fatigue was not fair to the Hawks’ effort.
”They outplayed us in pretty much all the aspects of the game,” Carlesimo said. ”They were very, very aggressive. They really shared the ball. The ball moved very, very well.”
Smith has missed three games this season, two for health reasons. Each time the Hawks managed an impressive win – at Oklahoma City in Atlanta’s second game of the season and at home over Indiana and Brooklyn.
Even so, Drew said he missed Smith.
”Tonight we were good,” Drew said. ”With Josh we’re better. That’s just the bottom line. It will be good to get Josh back. Tomorrow when Josh shows up, he will get a big hug from me.”
Joe Johnson had 15 points while shooting 4 of 15 from the field in his return to Atlanta, where he played the past seven seasons. Johnson was a six-time All-Star with the Hawks but drew some boos from Atlanta fans.
The Hawks had success in providing help for Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson, the primary defenders on Johnson.
”If we’d have made them pay a couple of times, then they wouldn’t have double-teamed as much,” Johnson said. ”It seemed that we just didn’t know where to be.”
Teague’s previous high was 27 points at Cleveland on Dec. 28, 2012.
”When shots were there, I just tried to take them with confidence, and I was able to knock some down,” Teague said.
After scoring only 20 points in the first half of the loss to the Bulls, including five in the second quarter, the Hawks led the Nets 56-40 at halftime. Their 24 field goals in the half matched their total for the full game against the Bulls.
With every defensive rebound, Drew waved his right arm in windmill fashion and yelled ”Let’s go!” as he demanded his team push the pace. The Hawks followed his instruction, taking a 19-4 advantage in fast-break points in the first half.
Atlanta stretched the lead to 73-47 midway through the third quarter.
The Nets closed to 99-87 on a 3-pointer by Deron Williams, who scored 12 points. Andray Blatche also had 12 for the Nets.
The Hawks shot a season-high 57.7 percent from the field. Lou Williams and Kyle Korver each scored 11.
The teams play again in Brooklyn on Friday night.
”They were a very, very good team tonight without Josh,” Carlesimo said. ”You’ve got to think they’re going to be a better team when they add a player of his caliber on Friday.”
NOTES:Hawks radio play-by-play announcer Steve Holman was honored for calling his 2,000th consecutive game. The streak, which began in 1989 and includes the regular season and playoffs, is the longest of any NBA announcer in radio or television. … Matt Kenseth, the 2012 Daytona 500 winner, attended the game to promote the Feb. 24 race. … Hawks G Anthony Morrow (sore lower back) did not play. … Nets F Gerald Wallace (bruised ribs) did not start but had four points in 15 minutes.