Joe Johnson's floater had just fell through the net, capping off an incredible 16-3 game-changing run midway through the fourth quarter.

His bucket handed the Nets their first lead of the game, helping turn a 12-point deficit into a one-point edge with 3:39 remaining. But although there may have been more than a twinge of euphoria engulfing the building, in the form of a deafening roar as loud as any heard at a game in Barclays Center in its three-plus years of existence, Johnson knew better than to get too exhilarated. He had only one thought.

"We've got to get a stop," Johnson said. "We can't get stops, man. Each and every game we've played this team, they've basically shots lights out . . . They just come at you in waves."

Almost like riding a surfboard and the Nets again were powerless to do anything about it. Playing without three key rotation players, Atlanta still had plenty of offensive gusto, scoring six of the game's final eight points to send the Nets to a 114-111 loss that dropped them into eighth in the Eastern Conference with four games left.

Johnson's potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer rattled around the rim and bounced out, thwarting a final gasp by the Nets (36-42). Johnson couldn't answer Jeff Teague's huge pair of free throws, but it was really Al Horford's uncontested dunk with 19.1 seconds remaining that put the Hawks (59-19) back up for good at 112-111, catapulting them to a four-game season series sweep over the Nets.

Horford was left underneath because the Nets got wrapped up in trying to deny Kyle Korver the ball and got burned.

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"They just ran Kyle Korver off a couple of screens and I was a little late getting out there," Deron Williams said.

"I think that was pretty much the design of the play, was for us to help and he just whipped it down there to Horford."Lopez, who paced the Nets with 26 points and 10 rebounds, shouldered the blame.

"Definitely, I'm going to be thinking about that one a lot tonight. Dreaming about that."

Wondering how they let the short-handed Hawks, who were without Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic following their early-morning arrests and Paul Millsap because of a shoulder injury, get the best of them once more.

"This is a tough one for us," Williams said.

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"We did battle back and had control of the game, but didn't get a stop down the stretch, and it was kind of the ball game."