Jason Kidd had nine points, 12 assists and nine rebounds in nearly collecting his second straight triple-double and helping New Jersey win for the third time in four games.
Vince Carter had 12 points with another miserable shooting effort from the field (6-of-16), but he made two clutch baskets late to hold off the Hawks.
Josh Smith and backup forward Josh Childress had 18 points apiece to lead the Hawks, who were limited to 38 percent shooting from the field. All-Star guard Joe Johnson added 15 points and Marvin Williams had 13, all in the first half.
The Nets broke a 53-all tie and took control with a 16-4 spurt in the final 5:07 of the third quarter. Seven different players scored during the run as New Jersey limited the Hawks to four free throws.
New Jersey built the lead to 14 points early in the fourth quarter, before Smith, Childress and Johnson got the Hawks back in the game by combining for all the points in a 16-4 spurt. Smith’s 3-pointer with about five minutes to play got Atlanta to within two.
Carter then drove the baseline for a jam and Wright hit a layup after Hawks rookie Al Horford missed two free throws to push the lead to 81-75 with 4:14 to go.
The Hawks never got closer than three points the rest of the way, but the Nets couldn’t put them away.
Kidd missed two free throws with 49.4 seconds to play and Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 39.3 seconds to go to cut the Nets lead to 85-82.
New Jersey then held the ball and Wright drove the left side of the lane for a layup and a five-point lead with 16 seconds to play.
Johnson then missed another 3-pointer and New Jersey’s Darrell Armstrong was fouled. He also missed two free throws with 4.6 seconds to play.
Notes: After making his first 25 free throws this season, Jefferson banged his first off the rim. ... G Speedy Claxton (knee), C Zaza Pachulia (knee) and C Lorenzen Wright (foot) were inactive for the third straight game for the Hawks with injuries. ... It took 82 minutes over four games but Collins scored his first basket on a putback with 2:45 left in the third quarter. ... New Jersey has won 10 of the last 11 games at the Meadowlands against Atlanta. ... The Hawks were 23-of-32 from the free throw line.