deron williams

The Brooklyn Nets paid back the Hawks and now want to get even with the Knicks.

Deron Williams scored 24 points, making four free throws in the final 43.4 seconds, and Brooklyn beat Atlanta 94-89 on Friday night to earn a split of a home-and-home series.

Brook Lopez added 20 points for the Nets, who bounced back from a 109-95 loss in Atlanta on Wednesday that snapped their seven-game winning streak.

The Nets pulled within two games of the first-place Knicks ahead of Monday’s matchup at Madison Square Garden, their final meeting of the season. New York has won the last two after Brooklyn took the first game as city rivals.

”We’ve got to go in there with the mind-frame that we understand it’s going to be a hostile environment and some way, somehow we’ve got to come out of there on top,” Nets guard Joe Johnson said. ”They beat us the last two times and we owe them.”

Johnson, a perennial All-Star in Atlanta before the Hawks dealt him to the Nets last summer, finished with 18 points. Reggie Evans grabbed 20 rebounds as the Nets beat the Hawks for the first time in seven meetings…

Jeff Teague had 21 points and 10 assists for the Hawks, who played without Horford, their starting center, and lost key reserve Lou Williams to a serious-looking right knee injury. Former Nets guard Devin Harris scored 17 and Josh Smith had 12 points and nine rebounds in his return from a one-game team suspension, but shot just 5 of 15.

The Hawks were only 5 of 22 from the field in the fourth quarter and lost for the seventh time in nine games…

Drew said Horford had a sore hamstring and calf. He was in uniform but didn’t start for just the second time in Hawks’ 39 games, and Drew decided not to use him at all.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press