Utah Jazz: Millslammed! Former Jazz players, Hawks take it to Utah in 118-85 rout
John Bazemore, AP
ATLANTA — Though it didn’t sound believable, Paul Millsap said Friday’s contest between his old team, the Utah Jazz, and his new team, the Atlanta Hawks, was “just another game.”
Turned out to be just another Millsap-like game for him and another loss for the squad he played with for the past seven seasons.
Millsap did admit to being "anxious" as this game approached, but the anticipation leading up to this reunion night was a lot more exciting than the actual game.
To give an indication of how this 118-85 Hawks win went, Millsap grabbed his 10th rebound before anybody on the Jazz hit double digits in scoring.
Millsap finished with a double-double — no surprise there — and totaled 14 points, 10 boards, three assists and one impressive block. Former Jazz guys DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver were also instrumental in the Hawks making this a laugher from early on.
"We was excited too (about playing against old friends)," Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. "Their whole team just came out with more energy and they got a win."
While Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin lamented the “low energy” of his squad, he couldn’t help but heap praise on the old Utah players.
“Those are guys we had here (with Utah) for a while. They are doing a good job for their team,” Corbin said. “They play the game hard and they are who they are. They work hard every play and they’re still doing those things for another ball club.”
Millsap had the biggest impact and the most impressive stat line of the Utah alumni. Best of all for the overlooked, undersized guy the Jazz selected with the 47th pick in the 2006 draft, his Hawks improved to 15-12 with the blowout victory over his first NBA team.
“Paul was very collected. You would have never guessed that he had played there,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “He looked normal. It was just another game for him.”
Atlanta had a slew of highlights Friday, including Korver stretching his NBA record 3-point streak to 96 games and big scoring nights from backup guard Lou Williams (25) and Horford (23). But Millsap seemed to be in the Hawks’ best moments in the third straight home win for the Eastern Conference’s third-best team.
The 6-8 forward had one of his classic, powerful “Millslams,” introduced Trey Burke to one of his “Millslaps” by soaring to block the rookie’s layup attempt and teamed up with Carroll for the fast break of the night. During that play, Carroll stole the ball, hustled to keep it inbounds, dribbled behind his back and then dished a no-look pass to Millsap for an easy dunk.
“It was weird, but at the same time, he came out with a focus,” Favors, Millsap’s understudy for the past few years, said after Utah dropped to 7-22. “He wanted to beat us, so we have to come out with that same type of intensity the next game.”
That will be tonight when the Jazz visit another old friend in Charlotte: former Utah center Al Jefferson.
Utah will have to play much better than it did in this one to be competitive against the surprising Bobcats, who improved to 13-14 with a 116-106 win in Detroit on Friday.
Against the Hawks, the Jazz fell behind 30-16 after the first quarter, only scored 34 points in the opening half and simply looked like they could’ve used Millsap, Carroll and Korver.
Reserves Alec Burks and Enes Kanter (13 rebounds) led the Jazz with 13 points apiece, but Utah only shot 37.2 percent. It took until seconds remained in the third quarter before any Utah player hit double figures. Hayward finally scored his 11th point late in that period, and he was the only starter to hit double digits or play his usual minutes (29).
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