SALT LAKE CITY — So was it Atlanta simply having an outstanding shooting touch on Wednesday night, or are the Jazz to blame for the Hawks torching the nets inside EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday night?
Probably a combination of both.
"Good night for them, bad night for us," said Jazz guard Deron Williams.
The Hawks shot an amazing 56 percent (14-for-25) from 3-point range and 50.6 percent from the field in their 110-87 win over Utah. Atlanta executed its offense to near perfection against the Jazz, and it gave the Hawks numerous open looks at the basket from long range.
"They played great defense on us; we didn't play much defense on them," Williams said. "They came out and executed. They set screens. They got the ball where they needed it to go. It was some continuity out there with them, and (that is something) we don't have."
The Hawks came out blazing for both halves. They shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the first quarter and 6-for-8 in the third quarter. Atlanta built a 30-17 lead after the first quarter. In the third quarter, any time the Jazz threatened to get within single digits some Hawks player would drill a 3.
Joe Johnson, rounding into All-Star form after having elbow surgery earlier in the season, shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Jamal Crawford sank four 3-pointers — one of which he converted into his league record 31st four-point play. Maurice Evans made three 3-pointers.
"We just shot the lights out tonight, especially from 3," Johnson said. "It just shows a tribute to a lot of hard work we've been putting in and the focus and intensity we need on back-to-back (games). Coming into a hostile environment like tonight, knowing that we really had no room for error, we had to get off to a fast start."
The fast start was impressive, as was the Hawks maintaining their ability to hit shots throughout the game.
"I've seen a team shooting well, but not during the whole game," said Andrei Kirilenko. "Like, I've seen good stretches, but not making them the whole game like one by one by one by one, and just keep knocking them down from midrange, 3s, layups. Everybody was making it. They're a tough team to play when everybody starts making it."
Coach Jerry Sloan said the way Utah defended Atlanta had a lot to do with how well the Hawks shot the ball. Atlanta, displaying excellent ball movement throughout the contest, consistently threw it in and out of the post and the Jazz always seemed to be a step behind.
"They threw the ball out of the post a number of times for guys to be able to take shots," Sloan said. "That's one thing. The other is whenever they were looking for 3-point shots we had trouble getting to them. They pass the ball well. They got it to who was supposed to have the ball almost every possession. We didn't seem to be able to do anything with it."