Utah Jazz: Former Jazz players lead Atlanta Hawks to victory against their old team
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — It was old-home night Monday at EnergySolutions Arena, where it couldn’t have gone much better for three popular former Jazz players.
Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll all received rousing ovations in pregame introductions and then went out and beat up on the Jazz in leading Atlanta to a 112-110 victory.
The trio combined for more than half of the Hawks’ points — 60 to be exact — as Korver scored 26, his second-best output of the season, Millsap had 23 and Carroll chipped in 11.
Not only did the three former Jazzmen score the majority of the Hawks’ points, they were the main cogs down the stretch when they scored all 12 points in a 12-2 run that was the difference in the ballgame.
“They’re good players,’’ said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “They were great guys here and you can see the growth in all three of the guys. I’m ecstatic for them. They’re all good pros, and I’m really happy for the success they are having.’’
Corbin just wishes they wouldn’t have all played quite so well Monday night.
The Jazz had come back from a 17-point first-half deficit to lead 96-93 with just less than four minutes left. But after a timeout, the Hawks set up a play to get the ball to Korver coming off a screen, and his shot from the top of the key hit nothing but net to tie the game at 96 with 3:30 left.
After an offensive foul by Gordon Hayward, it was Carroll’s turn as he sank a 3-pointer from the left angle to give the Hawks the lead for good. Then Korver came back with an 18-footer from the corner and Millsap sank a pair of free throws and Korver added another jumper as the only Jazz basket in nearly a four-minute span was a drive by Trey Burke.
“We talk about big contributions from everybody,’’ said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer. “The shot by Kyle when they had gone up by three ... and DeMarre made a big 3 to put us up by three. Those two shots were critical and obviously getting a stop in between.’’
Corbin thought the biggest play might have been right after that with the Hawks up 101-98. Millsap drove down the middle and he shot the ball into the bottom of the hoop, seemingly without getting touched. However, Derrick Favors was called for the foul and Millsap’s free throws pushed the lead to five with 1:05 left.
“They said Derrick bumped him,’’ Corbin said. “I thought he challenged the shot really well and tried to get out of the way and Paul extended his arm a little bit. But they saw it differently, so we have to deal with it.’’
The Jazz put seven players in double figures, led by Burke, who scored 23 points, including a pair of 3s in the final 10 seconds that made the game look closer than it was.
Marvin Williams scored 18 points. Richard Jefferson (15), Favors (14), Hayward (13), Alec Burks (12) and Enes Kanter (11) were the others in double figures for Utah.
Besides the 60 combined points from Korver, Millsap and Carroll, the Hawks got 14 from Jeff Teague and 12 from center Pero Antic.
The ex-Jazz players couldn’t have been more thrilled with how the evening turned out.
“It was great, real great,’’ said Millsap. “I love this crowd. They love me. I was grateful for that, really.’’
“It was everything I expected,’’ said Carroll. “The fans, they gave us a home welcome.’’
“The Jazz have so much tradition and it’s like one big family here,’’ said Korver. “Once you’re part of the Jazz, it’s like you never leave all the way.’’
Atlanta came in having lost six straight, including five straight road games. If anyone could relate to the Hawks’ plight it was the Jazz, who were in the exact same situation two nights earlier, trying to salvage the last game of a six-game road trip after having lost the first five.
Like the Jazz did in Philadelphia on Saturday night, the Hawks broke away from a close game to snatch the victory and improve to 27-35 on the season.
As has been the case many times this season, the Jazz got off to a slow start and fell behind early, trailing 28-22 after the first quarter and 59-44 at halftime.
“It wasn’t one of our better halves,’’ said Corbin. “They were the aggressors.’’
In the third quarter, the Jazz caught fire and outscored the Hawks 36-19 as Kanter had eight points and Hayward capped off the quarter with a follow slam dunk of a Williams’ miss at the buzzer to put the Jazz up 80-78.
When asked about the difference late in the fourth quarter when the Hawks took the lead with that 12-2 run, Corbin said, “They made shots and we didn’t. I thought Marvin had two great looks on shots he usually makes.’’
The 22-42 Jazz stay home for two games — Dallas on Wednesday and the L.A. Clippers on Friday — before heading out on a three-game road trip.
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