Paul Millsap gave the Utah Jazz seven great seasons to start out his career, and he made his return to Salt Lake City on Monday night. Although Millsap got the video tribute, it was another former Jazz player that carried his current Atlanta Hawks team in this one.
Coming into this game, the Hawks had lost six straight games and were wrapping up a grueling six-game road trip on the west coast. Now that Atlanta has some healthy bodies again, they are starting to look like the team we saw earlier in the year, and this tough stretch of the season could lighten up.
After battling tough against the Clippers two nights earlier, the Hawks came out on fire, and built a big lead early. They led by as many as 17 points in the first half, and were hitting from all angles on offense. They dropped an impressive 59 points in the first half, and held a 59-44 lead heading into the break.
Things wouldn’t be as easy for the birds in the second half, though. The Jazz started out the third quarter with a 23-12 run, and overall had a 30-14 run to tie the game in the third. They finally took the lead, and things were not looking good for Atlanta. The fourth quarter would be a session of trading punches, but the Hawks had an 8-0 run to take five-point lead with a little over one minute to go. Kyle Korver hit a tough shot to give the Hawks a 103-98 lead late, and the foul game would ensue after that. The Hawks missed some free throws, but Jeff Teague hit two late freebies to seal it. Trey Burke went down the court and hit a 30-footer to bring it within two at the buzzer, and the Hawks won 112-110.
The aforementioned Kyle Korver had a spectacular game against his former team, scoring 26 points on 12 shots. After failing to hit a three-pointer against the Warriors two games earlier (ending his streak), Korver went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc in this one, and is 7 for 7 in his last two games. Paul Millsap had 23 points and 8 rebounds, and DeMarre Carroll added 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in their return to Utah. Despite missing shootaround with an ear issue, Jeff Teague started this one, and had 14 points and 6 assists. Though his box score won’t show it, Elton Brand made a number of hustle plays down the stretch, and he was a big reason for the win.
In a revenge game for former Hawk Marvin Williams, he scored 18 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in a losing effort. The Hawks snapped their six-game losing streak, and are now 27-35 on the season. They currently hold a three and a half game lead over the Knicks and Pistons for the eighth seed, and will look to build on their lead Thursday against the Bucks in their return home.