Utah 100, Atlanta 94

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 23 (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks gave the Utah Jazz more trouble than they expected. Carlos Boozer knew they just needed to focus and they'd prevail again at home.

"We got a little jumpshot happy,'' he said. "But when we needed to execute and get the ball inside, we did and we scored. Then we got down and played some good defense.''

Boozer, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds, to help the Jazz hold off Atlanta 100-94 on Saturday night for their 14th straight home victory.

Josh Smith, who led Atlanta with 30 points, converted a three-point play with 1:58 remaining to get the Hawks within 90-88. But Boozer and Mehmet Okur made layups on the next two possessions by the Jazz and the Hawks were then forced to foul.

Kyle Korver, who scored 13 points, had six free throws in the final 20.4 seconds to help clinch the win.

"If you don't execute your offense, then you can't get back and defend the other way,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "When we execute, we're fine. Our guys played hard, got themselves going and did a great job.''

Mike Bibby had 18 points and nine assists despite foul trouble and Marvin Williams added 16 for the Hawks, who close their stretch of six straight road games Monday in San Antonio.

With Atlanta down by 16 in the fourth quarter, Johnson hit a pair of 3-pointers among 13 consecutive points that brought the Hawks to 82-79.

"They're a good perimeter shooting team,'' Deron Williams said. "They're very athletic and they're hard to defend. They've got a lot of different lineups they go small, they go big. They're a tough team.''

But the Jazz hunkered down and ran the same pick-and-roll plays they have run for two decades and got easy shots in the final minutes.

"Utah will bang you up,'' Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "They play very physical and if you don't match their energy and effort, then they'll run you out of the gym. I thought tonight we hung right in there.''

Dragging for most of the game after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, the Jazz flashed a sudden burst of energy as they clung to a 64-62 lead. Boozer sparked the 14-2 run with a slam and Ronnie Price capped it with a 3-pointer on the first play of the fourth quarter. All the other field goals in the spurt were dunks and layups.

Price, who scored 10 points and had four assists, sparked the Jazz's languid offense as Utah outscored the Hawks by 16 points in the 15 minutes he was on the floor.

"We had lapses in the game and that really hurt us. We've got to learn to play hard at all times. You know, if we play hard all 48 minutes, then we win this game,'' said Bibby, who's 1-3 with Atlanta since arriving in a trade from Sacramento.

The Jazz have won 14 of their last 16 games overall and won this one by dominating in the paint, outscoring the Hawks inside 60-40, and forcing the road-weary Hawks into 22 turnovers. Utah turned those miscues into 25 points, while Atlanta garnered just seven points off 12 turnovers.

The Jazz led by as many as 19 in the first half as the sloppy Hawks turned the ball over 15 times. But the Hawks closed the period with a flurry of 3-pointers, capped by Josh Smith's buzzer-beater from 30 feet to close the gap to 47-40.

"It wasn't the prettiest win, but we'll take it. It was a good bounce-back from last night, getting blown out in L.A. Coming back here, we maintained our focus,'' Boozer said after his 39th double-double.

Before Atlanta surprised Golden State 117-100 on Friday night, the Hawks had lost six in a row.

Joe Johnson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to nearly notch a triple-double.

"I thought their bench was the difference tonight against our bench,'' Woodson said of Utah's reserves outscoring their Hawk counterparts 36-12.

The Hawks beat the Jazz in their previous meeting this season in Atlanta, 116-111, on Dec. 17, but the Jazz have won 14 straight against the Hawks in Salt Lake City. Dominique Wilkins scored 43 points on Feb 13, 1993 to lead Atlanta to its last win here, 121-112.

The Jazz have not lost at home since falling to Boston 104-98 on Dec. 28.

Notes: Johnson's only triple double occurred on Feb. 1, 2007, against Charlotte. ... The Hawks were held to one field goal in a ten-minute stretch bridging the first and second quarters. ... The Jazz shot a season-high 90 percent (18-of-20) from the line.


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