Atlanta Hawks Lose To Utah Jazz 120-95

The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday night. What stood out from their performance?

It’s been a rough few days for sports fans in Atlanta. First, the Atlanta Falcons lost the Super Bowl in the most devastating way possible to the New England Patriots. Then the Atlanta Hawks got blown out by the Utah Jazz.

Okay, you’re right. One of those losses is considerably worse than the other. The point is it’s been a rough couple of days in Atlanta. Stay strong, Atlanta. You still have Migos. No loss will ever take that away from you. The Hawks came into Monday night’s contest with the Utah Jazz having won back-to-back games and three out of their last four.

Utah’s sizzling offense snapped that winning streak and turned the game into a blowout. Atlanta shot 44.6 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range, but it sure didn’t feel that way. Despite those decent percentages, they were still outscored 120-95.

Normally Utah wins with their defense, but their offense was unstoppable against the Hawks. The Jazz shot 61.3 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range. Gordon Hayward led them in scoring, finishing the game with 30 points on a tidy 12-for-18 shooting.

George Hill scored 22 points and knocked down three three-pointers. Derrick Favors had 20 points and 10 rebounds on 10-for-12 shooting.

Rudy Gobert was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, scoring 14 points. Joe Ingles was the only member of the starting lineup not to score in double figures, but he still finished with six points on 2-for-2 from three-point distance.

Thabo Sefolosha‘s absence for Atlanta was glaring, they had no defender that could come close to containing Hayward. Of course, they really couldn’t contain anyone in Utah’s starting five. Rain drop. Drop top. The Hawks just couldn’t get a stop.

The Jazz showed why many think they’re a dark-horse to make a run to the Western Conference Finals. I certainly wouldn’t want to see them in a postseason series.

Mike Budenholzer praised Utah’s offensive execution after the game.

“The offensive execution, the ball movement, everything Utah did was very good,” Mike Budenholzer said after the game. A lot of credit to them. We give up 61-percent, 120 points. It’s just not the defense we were expecting, the defense that put us in a position to have a decent stretch of games. It starts and stops with 120 and 61-percent. It’s not good enough.”

Despite the offensive success, Hayward praised his team’s defense in his post-game comments to the media.

“We locked down defensively,” Hayward said. “We forced them into some tough shots.”

That was certainly true in the first and third quarters. Those were the quarters that doomed the Hawks. Utah outscored Atlanta 29-21 in the opening quarter, then 37-23 in the third quarter. That put Atlanta out of the game for good.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks in scoring with 21 points. Paul Millsap added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting. Dwight Howard had 10 points and eight rebounds in just 25 minutes played.

Malcolm Delaney continued to build on his hot-shooting January. Delaney finished his night with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting and 2-for-3 from three-point distance. He has become a stabilizing presence on the second unit.

This game showcased one of the annoying trends for the Hawks this season. They seem to either win close or lose in a blowout. Their last loss where the final margin was less than 10 points was on Jan. 13 against the Boston Celtics.

Since that game they have seen losses of 23 points, 10 points, 26 points, 23 points, and now 25 points. It can be extremely confusing. Stay with me, Atlanta sports fans. It will get better. Just ask Cleveland.

The loss brings Atlanta’s record to 30-22 on the season. Next up they’ll face the Denver Nuggets at home before traveling to Sacramento to battle DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings. There’s nothing like a west coast road trip to deprive you of sleep and sanity!

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