Notebook: Hawks 102, Jazz 91



Posted Feb 28, 2013 12:26 AM

Andrew Aragon, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Atlanta Hawks are feeling right at home on the road.

The Hawks picked up their fifth straight road victory by easily handling the Utah Jazz 102-91 on Wednesday night. Al Horford continues to terrorize opponents -- and make All-Star Game selectors look foolish. He scored a career-high 34 points and had 15 rebounds to lead the Hawks.

Josh Smith also demoralized the Jazz as he had 24 points and 14 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 19 points and seven assists for Atlanta, which has won six of its last seven games.

During the Hawks' five-game road winning streak they've won by an average of 11.8 points and scored an average of 106.4 points.

Al Jefferson had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their third straight game. Derrick Favors, starting in place of an injured Paul Millsap, had 17 points and 15 rebounds.

QUOTABLE: "He was big. We were running plays through him. When his shot wasn't there he was passing the ball. He got everything within our offense and guys were doing a good job of finding him. He is really playing at a high level right now -- an extremely high level."
-- Atlanta coach Larry Drew on Horford

THE STAT: The Hawks controlled tempo throughout the game. They ran when they wanted to and prevented the Jazz from doing the same. Atlanta had 20 fast-break points, compared to just seven for Utah.

TURNING POINT: The Hawks were in control for much of the first half, and then put the game away with a dominant stretch to start the third quarter. They opened the second half on a 10-2 run to go ahead 66-48. There wasn't anything flashy about Atlanta's spurt as Teague sank a running jumper, Horford had one of his powerful dunks and the rest of the team's points came from the free-throw line. The real damage was done on defense, as the Hawks kept the Jazz from getting to their spots and doing what they wanted. They held Utah to 36.8 percent shooting in the third quarter.

HOT: Horford is playing like one of the league's elite players right now. Prior to his outstanding effort against the Jazz, he had 23 points and 22 rebounds against Detroit on Monday, and he sank the game-winning basket against Milwaukee on Saturday. In his last seven games, he's averaging 25.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and shooting 68.1 percent. He usually shoots well when he plays the Jazz as he entered Wednesday's game shooting 59 percent against them. He shot 63.6 percent on Wednesday.

NOT: Utah's point guard situation continues to be a problem. Earl Watson again started in place of Jamaal Tinsley -- who got a second straight DNP-CD -- and committed three turnovers in 19 minutes. Alec Burks, playing out of position in a backup point guard role, shot 2-for-8 while committing three turnovers in 28 minutes. Utah also continues to start games slowly. The Jazz allowed Atlanta to shoot 60 percent and score 30 points in the first quarter. Marvin Williams, who played in 487 games for the Hawks, didn't do much to cause them any trader's remorse. He had eight points on 4-for-10 shooting in 19 minutes.

QUOTABLE II: "I'm in a good rhythm. Most importantly, we're winning and we're playing well as a team. Tonight was a big win for our team."
-- Al Horford

GOOD MOVE: Atlanta gets more attention for its offense, but the team's defense was a deciding factor against the Jazz. The Hawks simply refused to get beat near the basket and secured the paint against Utah's bigs. They allowed the Jazz to have open looks at the basket, and Utah had little success in knocking them down. It was excellent strategy for the Hawks, who limited Utah to below 50 percent shooting in each quarter and 44.6 percent for the game. Horford punctuated Atlanta's defensive effort with a block on Jefferson with 4:48 remaining as Utah was gaining momentum.

BAD MOVE: The Jazz seemingly would have learned some lessons after two straight disastrous third quarter performances. Instead, they had their third straight that cost them another game. They played with little energy after the break and missed good looks at the basket. On Utah's first 10 possessions in the third quarter, the Jazz shot 0-for-9 and committed two turnovers. The Jazz, who eventually heated up late in the period, were outscored 26-18 in the third quarter. They were outscored 36-20 in the third by the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and 32-19 by the Boston Celtics on Monday.

NOTABLE: Millsap did not play. It was the first game he's missed this season. He suffered a sprained left ankle early in Monday's loss to Boston, had it re-taped and struggled in the second half. His status is day-to-day. The Hawks improved to 24-7 when they score more than 100 points. Three former Jazz players -- Kyle Korver, Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson -- faced Utah on Wednesday. Harris made the biggest impact, scoring eight of his 12 points in the first half and dishing two assists. Korver had an off-shooting night, even in warm-ups. He was 1-for-4 for four points. Stevenson played 13 minutes and scored two points. Utah's Randy Foye tied the franchise record for most 3-pointers in a season. He had two against the Hawks, bringing his season total to 129. Utah's bench outscored Atlanta's 29-9. The Hawks have defeated the Jazz four straight times.

UP NEXT: For the Hawks, Friday @ Phoenix, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Monday @ Denver. For the Jazz, Friday vs. Charlotte, Monday @ Milwaukee, Wednesday @ Cleveland.