NEW YORK -- While Atlanta Hawks head coach Larry Drew said that he is not paying much attention to the NBA Eastern Conference standings, his standout center Al Horford certainly is.
"I knew coming in that this was a big game," said Horford, whose 22 points and 11 rebounds paced the Atlanta Hawks defeat the New Jersey Nets in a critical game for both teams. "I look at the standings every day. This was a very big win."
The victory enabled the Hawks to improve to 37-29, just a game behind the Nets (38-28) for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Drew doesn't want to look at it as a crucial game just yet.
"We're aware of it, but there are too many games left to be played to worry about it," Drew said. "We just have to focus on each game and worry about where we stand at the end of the season."
Drew was pleased with the way his team took over in the fourth quarter, shooting 70 percent (14-of-20 from the floor) and scoring 34 points, the most the Nets have allowed in a final period this season.
"We were able to get out and run," Drew said. "We showed our quickness. We got a lot of deflections and got out to run the floor."
The Hawks had 22 fast break points compared to just six for Brooklyn. The Nets had 16 turnovers and the Hawks had 14 steals.
"We also had 30 assists as a team, showing that we can share the ball," Drew said. "When we do that, we're a pretty good club."
Jeff Teague had 15 of those assists for Atlanta, to go along with his 11 points. The 15 assists tied a career high for Teague.