NEW YORK — DeMarre Carroll felt as though he couldn’t miss in the second quarter as he outscored the Brooklyn Nets 14-13 all by himself.
Still, it was Atlanta’s energy and defense during that period that really got him going.
Carroll scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half, Paul Millsap had 17 points and the Hawks beat the Nets 98-75 on Dec. 5 night for their fifth straight victory.
“I think we got more excitement off the defensive end,” said Carroll, who hit all five of his shots in the second — four from 3-point range.
Jeff Teague finished with 14 points and Dennis Schroder scored 13 for the Hawks, who led by as many as 32 and improved to 4-4 on the road. Atlanta is 8-2 at home.
Brooklyn missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the second quarter and went 5 of 19 in the period while the Hawks shot 12-for-18 from the floor, including 6 of 11 on 3-pointers.
“We were getting stops. Guys were trapping. Guys were getting blocks and getting steals,” Carroll said. “I think as long as we get more excitement on the defensive end than the offensive end, everything will work out.”
Brook Lopez had 20 points and Joe Johnson added 12 for the Nets, who had won two straight — including a tough victory over San Antonio on Dec. 3.
“Credit the Hawks — they shot lights-out from the guard spots to the bigs,” Johnson said. “They were on point tonight. Take nothing away from them. We just had no answer.”
Both teams struggled with their shooting in the first quarter, and Brooklyn held an 18-16 edge at the start of the second. But it was the Hawks who were able to shake off their sluggish start after going 6 of 22 in the opening period.
After Kevin Garnett’s layup with 8:08 remaining in the second, the Hawks tightened up their defense and forced the Nets to miss nine straight shots during a 14-0 run.
Mike Scott started the spurt with a 3-pointer, and Carroll’s second 3 capped the run to extend Atlanta’s lead to 37-22 with 4 minutes left in the half. Lopez ended Brooklyn’s scoring drought with a three-point play.
After his team gave up more than 100 points in each of its two previous victories, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer noticed how his players enjoyed controlling the defensive end of the court. That led to a 52-31 lead at halftime following one of Atlanta’s best stretches of play early in the season.
“We’ll go back and watch the film and we’ll find mistakes. We’re bad (coaches) that way,” Budenholzer said. “But I think that if we can play with that kind of activity and that kind of effort defensively, then that’s going to give ourselves a chance. … But I think our group knows we’ve got to get a lot better.”
Brooklyn played its third game in four nights, after beating the crosstown rival New York Knicks on Dec. 2 and the defending champion Spurs the next night in overtime.
“Sometimes you come up flat, and we came out flat tonight,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “I can’t explain that to all the players, and I’m sure they can’t explain it. We just have to let it go, get some rest and be ready to go.”