They played physical. They played more physical than we did. We felt like they wanted it a little more than we did and they deserve it. —Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert
ATLANTA — Monday felt like a Monday at Philips Arena for the Utah Jazz.
There was no energy, spunk or pizzazz being displayed from the visiting team as the Jazz dropped a 104-90 game to the Atlanta Hawks — who happen to be the Eastern Conference’s worst team.
At one point, the Jazz trailed by as many as 26.
“They played physical. They played more physical than we did,” said Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who posted six points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. “We felt like they wanted it a little more than we did and they deserve it.
“Until we start playing more physical and being more focused on what we have to do, individually and collectively, we’re going to get our a** kicked.”
From the opening tip, the Jazz struggled offensively, starting 0 for 10 from the field to trail 6-0. Utah didn’t score until 6:48 after Joe Ingles nailed the first Jazz field goal off a 4-point play and the Jazz didn’t have much luck from beyond the arc, attempting a season-low 15 3-point attempts with a single-game low of 4 threes.
“There were times where we looked like we didn’t want to play, myself included and that’s not us, that’s not our identity,” said Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. “We’ve just got to come out with more life and more energy and I think if we play the way like we play here it will be a lot of nights like this.”
For the second game in a row, Jazz guard Rodney hood sat with a lower leg contusion and the team missed the offensive output of their second-leading scorer.
Alec Burks would end with a team-high 17 points off the bench while Mitchell added 13 points, six rebounds and six turnovers.
Royce O’Neale was solid with 10 points in 20 minutes while Atlanta native Derrick Favors and Raul Neto both added 11 points apiece.
Ricky Rubio started the game looking for his shot but couldn’t connect, going 0-for-5, in the first quarter and finished with just two points and six assists with four turnovers. Rubio struggled to stay in front of Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, who finished with a game-high 20 points while attacking the rim repeatedly.
“We lost focus. Dennis was really good going by us but we allowed a lot of stuff and didn’t help,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “When you see a team having three or four attempts at the glass, those are things you can control.”
At halftime, Atlanta led 42-41 but from the beginning of the third to the fourth is where the Jazz got disconnected. Atlanta went on a 21-6 run to start the fourth, building the lead to 26, and never looked back.
Over the last 14 games, Atlanta is now 7-7 with a 6-2 record at home.
“The second half, the way we competed to match the aggressiveness, to match the physicality defensively they have a philosophy to get into you and make everything hard,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “If you’re on your heels at all, you’re going to have a long night in mud. It felt like in the second half, we were able to cut harder, screen harder, move better, including moving the ball.”
The Jazz are now 5-19 on the road and haven’t won back-to-back games in over a month.
Utah (19-28) will look to get back on track in Detroit on Wednesday.
“We have to have the same blueprint if we’re not scoring in the third quarter. They came out (in the third quarter), and we didn’t have the intensity,” Snyder said. “We didn’t compete like we needed to if we’re not scoring. And we did early. That’s why we were able to be in the game and be where we were at halftime. But we didn’t have that in the second half, and it resulted in some open shots and some easy shots, and the game got away.”