ATLANTA — Seems the fat lady in Atlanta apparently lost her voice, too.
For the fourth time in a row, the Utah Jazz refused to let a game be over even after their opponents hit all the right notes while taking a double-digit lead and just as the metaphorical soprano in the building was clearing her throat.
Incredibly — but now routinely — the Jazz sang their rally cry yet again, surging past the Atlanta Hawks for a 90-86 victory after falling behind by 11 points in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena.
"We just hung in there," said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who had a game-high 24 points and 10 assists. "We got down a little bit, not as much as the last three games, but again we were able to hang in there, not hang our heads."
And, again, they danced on the grave of a double-digit deficit.
The Hawks are in good and ever-expanding company. They join the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, who blew leads of 18 or more points in losses to Utah since Saturday.
This one had a differentiating factor that made it not quite like the others, though.
The Jazz managed to keep their deficit to the Hawks to single digits through three quarters. Lulled into Utah's trap, Atlanta entered the Jazz opponents' danger zone at the beginning of the fourth when Josh Powell hit two free throws for a 74-63 lead.
That's when Williams was subbed out, the Jazz's alarm clock went off and a pleasantly plump singer in the house reached for her throat lozenges.
As a pleasant surprise, this turnaround happened for the Jazz with a lineup that included two guys who rarely play — veteran newcomer Earl Watson and rookie Jeremy Evans — along with Kyrylo Fesenko, C.J. Miles and Andrei Kirilenko.
That cavalry group sparked the Jazz to a 15-4 surge that began with a Miles 3-pointer, ended with a Kirilenko trey and included a blocked shot by the 6-foot-1 Watson, an alley-oop dunk by Evans and a whole lot of spunk and scrappiness.
"The second group did it," Williams said, "got us back in the game and then we ran with it."
Eventually, at least.
The Jazz fell behind by five again, but outscored Atlanta 9-0 in the final 3-1/2 minutes.
"I was really impressed with the guys off the bench," Sloan said. "I thought they did a good job holding us in there."
Evans finished with five points in his first action since spraining his right wrist against Oklahoma City on Halloween.
"It's very special to me just to be in these games and just to play with these guys," said Evans, the second-round pick who'd played only 17 minutes coming into this one.
"He made a couple of baskets, yeah. It's amazing — he hasn't gotten to play, but he hasn't done anything wrong," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He stepped out and played very well. We're happy for him and we're happy for our team."
Watson contributed two points, three assists, two rebounds and the blocked shot that initiated the first game-tying play in the fourth on Kirilenko's three.
"Earl, he was alive," Sloan said. "He really pushed the ball up the floor and got some nice passes that were good for us."
It was satisfying for Watson to be out there, having only played five minutes at Miami and not having his number called against the Clippers or Magic.
"It felt good," said Watson, who's struggled to get playing time after being a starting point guard for much of his first nine NBA seasons. "It's always good to be involved, compete and have a chance to play."
The Jazz executed brilliantly down the stretch while putting the defensive clamps on the high-scoring Hawks. Williams and Paul Millsap (11 points, six rebounds) hit consecutive jumpers to tie the game and take the lead at 88-86.
The Jazz also had a bit of help as Al Horford missed potential game-knotting free throws with 7.3 seconds remaining to doom the 6-4 Hawks, who only shot 11-for-21 from the charity stripe.
Williams wasn't so charitable. He nailed the game-sealing freebies with 6.4 seconds remaining.
All that remained was a Millsap rebound, some celebrating yet another comeback win and a lot of praises sung about guys not normally in the spotlight.34 comments on this story
NOTES: The Jazz travel to Charlotte tonight for the final stop on their four-games-in-five-nights East Coast swing. … Al Jefferson had his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kirilenko (14 points, 12 boards) picked up his first this year. … Utah was outscored in the first three quarters but won thanks to a 27-17 fourth-quarter advantage. … Utah trailed 45-42 at the half, which marked the first time in four games it hadn't gone into the break down double digits and the first time in five games the Jazz scored 40 or more points before halftime. … Joe Johnson had 23 points for Atlanta, which has lost four in a row and had beaten Utah three straight.