The Atlanta Hawks have struggled on the road in December. With Joe Johnson back in the fold, they hope to turn things around on Sunday afternoon in Newark (1:00 PM, SportSouth, 97.9 FM).
Atlanta, which started the year by winning five of its first six away from the friendly confines of Philips Arena has been very un-good on the highway in the last month of the year. The Hawks have dropped four of five on the highway, including their last three games. While some of the losses have come in predictable places like San Antonio, Miami or Boston, another came against the lowly Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Due in part to Atlanta's road woes, Johnson -- Atlanta's leading scorer and most potent weapon -- returned to the court just 15 days after undergoing right elbow surgery. He was supposed to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks. The Atlanta shooting guard returned with a flourish in Atlanta's 90-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, posting a team best-tying 16 points in the contest.
New Jersey has dropped nine of their last 10 games, including a 98-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Nets shot a season-low 16.7-percent (2-for-12) from behind the arc in that one. Jersey also blew a six-point fourth quarter lead.
The teams have split the season set thus far, with the Nets taking a 107-101 overtime decision on Nov. 23 and Atlanta besting New Jersey at the Prudential Center. Josh Smith posted a season-high 34 points in a 116-101 home win on Dec. 7.