The Utah Jazz sported an 8-14 record on the road entering Friday’s contest with the Atlanta Hawks. After building up a solid 15-point lead, they looked extremely mediocre as they were ambushed in the fourth quarter by a hungry Hawks squad, which ultimately defeated Utah, 103-95.
Changing Tides: With 3:28 remaining in the third quarter, Randy Foye connected on one of his six 3-pointers. That put Utah up 75-60. How quickly things change in the NBA. Atlanta proceeded to go on a dramatic 43-20 run to close the game.
Atlanta absolutely dictated what would happen for the next 15 minutes, culminating in an impressive come-from-behind victory for the hometown Hawks. Led by former Jazz point guard Devin Harris, Atlanta was aggressive offensively, mixing things up with a combination of tough interior moves and precise perimeter marksmanship. During that span, Harris scored 14 of his 24 points.
The Hawks were also the aggressors on defense, forcing Utah into sloppy possessions, forced jumpers and costly turnovers. There was a span where Atlanta stole the ball three consecutive times, leading to easy points for the Hawks. Furthermore, they employed a big lineup of Al Horford, Ivan Johnson and Josh Smith. It was a catalyst defensively. Not to be ignored were backup center Zaza Pachulia’s physical stands against the Utah big men.
Missing in Action: After being a strong strength for much of the season, the Utah bench struggled mightily Friday evening. Gordon Hayward contributed 12 points, but beyond that, there was little to show.
The youthful trio of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks shot only seven shots and fired blanks on all of them. Head coach Tyrone Corbin played them a total of 29 minutes. Every bench player, including Hayward and Earl Watson, had negative plus-minus marks.
Odds and Ends:
• Spoiled in the loss was Randy Foye’s stellar game. After blistering Atlanta with 15 first-quarter points, he finished with 25 to lead the Jazz. He connected on 6-of-7 3-pointers.
• Johnson, the rugged Hawks forward, was a big impetus behind the Atlanta runs. Besides playing bruising defense, he scored 13 points and corralled seven rebounds.
• Six Atlanta players notched 12 or more points.
• Utah assisted on 29-of-36 field goals — a brilliant 80.6 percent clip. This adds to the sting of the loss for the Jazz.
• Former Jazzmen Kyle Korver (three points in 21 minutes) and DeShawn Stevenson (did not play-coach’s decision) did not fare quite as well as Harris versus against former employer.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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