Solomon Jones has been everything his teammates and coaches hoped he would be in the first extended action of his pro career.Josh Smith's high ankle sprain opened the door for Jones and he's crashed through with 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 points and 1.2 blocks in a little over 17 minutes per game. He's already had games with 10 and nine rebounds and a three-block effort off the bench, a huge boost for a team whose frontcourt rotation was severely damaged with the loss of Smith.
"I'm not surprised at all," Hawks captain Joe Johnson said. "In this league whenever you get a chance, regardless of the situation, you have to take advantage of it. He's been working hard. And he deserves it. He's playing well when we need him to."
Jones said he's trying to do the most he can with whatever minutes he earns. Nothing more and nothing less.
"You have to make an impression with the opportunity you get to try and get more opportunities," Jones said. "You can't fool these guys (in the locker room). So they'll be on you if you're not doing your job. That's why I'm doing whatever it takes to stay in the mix."
NETS 115, HAWKS 108: Undersized, understaffed and out of gas. That's the way the Hawks wrapped up their four-game road trip Friday night in New Jersey, like rude house guests tired of being on the road and worn down a bit from their travels.
The Nets handed them their second straight loss, 115-108, before a louder-than-it-looked crowd of 15,039 at Izod Center.
Despite leading by three, 76-73, at the start of the fourth quarter, the Hawks simply couldn't keep up the pace with Devin Harris, Vince Carter and rookie center Brook Lopez powering the Nets during the final stages of the game.
Harris finished with 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Carter was outstanding as well with 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Lopez added a season-high 25 points and nine rebounds for the 3-5 Nets, who'll travel to Atlanta for Saturday night's rematch.
Not even a furious second-half scoring flurry from Joe Johnson (he scored 30 of his 32 points after halftime) could rescue the Hawks (6-2).