Harpring Paces Jazz Past Hawks
Utah 95, Atlanta 83
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- Matt Harpring was huge in the second half for the Utah Jazz.
Harpring scored 12 of his season-high 30 points in the third quarter as the Jazz cruised to a 95-83 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, who have lost seven straight games.
Utah used a 16-5 run in the third quarter as it pulled away for an 74-64 advantage to start the fourth period. Harpring scored six points during the stretch.
"We were just cutting and moving a little more tonight," said Harpring, who added seven rebounds. "We weren't as hesitant to pass the ball. We were hitting guys, where before when we'd get in tight games, we'd be more hesitant to pass the ball."
Harpring's dunk with 9:18 remaining gave the Jazz an 80-67 lead, and the Hawks got no closer than 10 points thereafter. Utah shot 52 percent (38-of-73) from the floor and collected a season-high 29 assists.
"That's the difference in the game - we don't want to share the ball," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "This (Utah) team shows you how the game should be played, because they pass and cut and move the basketball."
Mehmet Okur scored 17 points and Andrei Kirilenko had 14 and a career-high 10 assists for Utah, which had a 52-16 advantage in points in the paint. Center Greg Ostertag, who missed Monday's game due to back spasms, had eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
"Tonight we were able to execute our offense and get the ball where we wanted it to go," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Jazz's defense played a big role forcing the Hawks into 21 turnovers and held them to just 35 percent in the second half.
"Defensively, we forced them to take outside shots. They scored like 10 shots probably," said Kirilenko, who had three blocked shots. "I think that's great, when we're forcing the outside shot and not letting them get inside and get boards and score on us."
Joe Johnson scored 19 points and rookie Salim Stoudamire added 15 for the Hawks, who have not won in Utah since Feb. 13, 1993.