In front of a sold-out O2 Arena on Thursday night in London, the Brooklyn Nets won the fourth NBA regular season game to be played in England, 127-110 over the Atlanta Hawks.
Joe Johnson led the Brooklyn Nets with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. It was the 16th win of the season for Brooklyn, their sixth out of seven in 2014. Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott scored 14 apiece off the bench for the Hawks.
The Hawks kept it close through the first period, trailing only 31-27 after one but by the half, the Nets had extended their lead to 12 points to lead, 67-55.
The Atlanta side faired no better in the second half and by the end of the third period and with a blow-out looking likely, the only question was whether Kyle Korver would keep his three-point made shooting streak of 107 consecutive games alive.
He finally nailed one from the corner in the final period sending the O2 crowd wild. But ultimately, a professional performance by Brooklyn saw them get the win and consign the Hawks to their second straight loss – sixth since Al Horford was ruled out for the season.
Things UK fans care about:
Celebrities who were at the game:
Footballers – Marouane Chamakh, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Lukasz Fabianski, Steve Sidwell, Jermain Defoe, Clint Dempsey, Paul Peschisolido, Jack Wilshire, Robert Pires, Andre Schurrle, Olivier Giroud, Darren Bent, Brad Friedel, Nani.
Singers – Ellie Goulding, Dougie Poynter from McFly, Liam Payne from One Direction, Tamera Foster from X Factor, Sir Paul McCartney
Fashionistas – Kelly Brook, Stella McCartney, Cara Delevingne.
Others – Anthony Joshua (Olympic gold medal winning boxer), Karren Brady (aide to Sir Alan Sugar on The Apprentice, columnist and vice Chairperson at West Ham United).
Crowd: It was maybe an 80-16-4% split = Nets – Hawks – Other
The Mexican Wave always makes an appearance at UK games and the Hawks-Nets game was no difference. It made one circuit of the stadium late in the third period.
Fans loved: Joe Johnson late in the quarter shots (of which there were two), Celebrities-who-are not Arsenal-players, Kiss Cam, Kyle Korver’s three, dance-offs between fans and mascots and dunks.
Post game quotes:
Andrei Kirilenko on guarding Kyle Korver: “I’ve known Kyle since Utah, we played together. And he’s probably the best shooter I know. I played with him and played against him and every time you turn your head it’s a three-point shot and he’s still holding that record in the NBA with consecutive three-point shots and we tried to play him so close so he couldn’t release that shot.”
Kyle Korver on his game and the team’s game: “Not a very good shooting game for me. We just didn’t play well as a team. We didn’t have very good organisation and didn’t run our sets very well. I thought our bench came in and played well but as starters, we didn’t do our part.”
Andray Blatche: “Coming out being more aggressive and having more confidence in my shot.”
Andray Blatche on the Nets posting the highest number of points on the Hawks that any team has this season: “All our shooters were hot. A lot of guys had a great game.”
Andray Blatche on the Nets’ defensive plan: “We knew they were going to shoot a lot of threes, so our focus was run them off the three-point line. Definitely on Korver.”
Paul Pierce on the opportunity to visit the UK and leave with the win: “Tremendous atmosphere. Sometimes when you get out the country, you’re split in two because you want to enjoy it and you come to places like this there’s not a lot of times you get the chance to come abroad and enjoy different parts of the world. So I thought we had a chance to do that and also played a great and came out with the win.”
Kevin Garnett on the Nets giving up over 100 points for the first time in 2014: “It’s a work in progress. Starting to form a little bit. We’ve had a lot of miscues throughout the year. Defensively we understand our schemes night in and night out but individually it’s coming, it’s coming. Slowly but surely.”
Jason Kidd on defending the three-point line: “Atlanta is a team that shoots on average 25 threes, so that was something that we’ve talked about 10 days ago and also tonight.”