The Utah Jazz knew this would be a season of ups and downs, bumps and bruises and lots of growing pains.
Friday night, the Atlanta Hawks also seemed to be aware of this and gave the young Utah team more than they could handle in a 118-85 drubbing.
Atlanta set the tone early and controlled it the entire game. Within five minutes, the Hawks held a 14-6 lead and they kept pouring it on. They won each quarter by at least six points with Utah provided little to no resistance. Utah's energy seemed to lacking from the tipoff and while it had its moments, it never could sustain any consistency.
Utah falls to 7-22 and 4-12 on the road, while the Hawks maintained their firm standing as the third seed in the lackluster Eastern Conference.
Jazz alumni: It was a reunion of sorts as the Jazz met up with three alumni: Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, who comprise 60 percent of Atlanta’s starting lineup. Each of them had rather modest individual performances, but they contributed to the Hawks’ collective outing.
Millsap has been one of the offseason’s best free-agent signings. He continues to put up great numbers as evidenced by his solid 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in just 27 minutes. Early in the game, he was the catalyst for the quick lead while working in tandem with Atlanta big man Al Horford.
Carroll, a fan favorite in Utah last season, showed his usual hustle and effort. While he only scored four points, he added five assists and a career-high four steals. He played the lanes well and deflected several passes.
Korver continued adding to his NBA record streak of games with a made 3-point field goal. He splashed in two early on, bringing the total to 96 games and counting.
Bench contributions: While Horford was the best player on the court, he had some solid assistance off the pine. Combo guard Lou Williams was dialed in, connecting on 8-of-13 from the floor, including a torrid 6-of-10 from long distance. He registered 25 points and four steals in a mere 24 minutes. Veteran Elton Brand showed he still had a lot in the tank in snaring eight rebounds and swatting five shots. Atlanta also enjoyed good production from reserves Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack, Pero Antic and John Jenkins.
Odds and Ends:
-- Utah simply could not get things going in hitting just 35-of-94 field goal attempts (37.2 percent). It also only made 3-of-18 from beyond the arc.
-- Jazz center Enes Kanter made the most of his appearance by scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
-- No Hawk played more than 27 minutes.
-- Brandon Rush had his fourth scoreless effort in five appearances.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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