ATLANTA (AP) — Joe Johnson was exhausted by the time the Hawks and Utah Jazz had dragged each other into a fourth overtime — in Atlanta’s third game in three nights, no less.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I just had to laugh it off. I’ve never played in a game like that.”
Johnson scored 37 points, Josh Smith added 22 and the Hawks ended Utah’s six-game winning streak with a 139-133 victory Sunday night in the NBA’s first quadruple-overtime game since 1997.
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The four overtimes tied for the third-longest game in NBA history. It was the ninth NBA game to go four OTs and the first since Phoenix beat Portland 140-139 on Nov. 14, 1997.
Al Jefferson finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds, and Paul Millsap had 25 points and 13 boards for the Jazz before both players fouled out in the final overtime.
“We’ll take a moral victory out of this one,” Millsap said. “This was a good ball team we played tonight. They played excellent defense. We just didn’t get it done.”
Atlanta has won four straight and six of seven. The Hawks improved to 30-20 and moved one-half game ahead of Indiana for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
“It would happen on the third (straight night), but it shows the toughness of this ballclub to be able to push through that many overtimes and come out victorious,” said Smith, who fouled out with 1:57 left in the first overtime. “It was a special win, and I think we’ll probably appreciate this win more so than any other win during the season thus far.”
Johnson ended the first quarter with 18 points after going 8 of 8 in the period. He missed eight of his next nine shots, including a potential game-winning runner with 3 seconds left in regulation, before hitting a 3-pointer that forced the third overtime.
With 16.9 seconds remaining in the fourth OT, Johnson’s 20-foot jumper over C.J. Miles gave the Hawks a 135-131 lead.
“I got some great looks in that first quarter,” Johnson said. “I got into a rhythm early and for whatever reason it took me a little while to get that rhythm back, but other guys stepped up and made plays.”
Jeff Teague, who had 18 points and nine assists, added a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go to make it 137-133. Johnson’s two free throws sealed the victory with 5.5 seconds remaining.
Zaza Pachulia, who pulled down 20 rebounds, hit a short jumper in the final seconds of the second quarter that gave the Hawks a 17-point lead, their biggest of the game.
Utah rallied with a 27-9 run, giving the Jazz their first lead since early in the opening period. Millsap’s 16-footer made it 65-64 with 3:23 left in the third.
Jefferson gave the Jazz their biggest lead of the game when his turnaround 12-footer made it 109-104 in the third OT, but Utah never went ahead in the final two periods.
“It’s over with,” Jefferson said. “We’ve just got to get ready for tomorrow. That’s why you get in shape. We can’t make any excuses. It was their third game in three nights. They found a way to pull it out in the end.”
The Jazz, who have won only one road game when they trailed after three quarters, fell to 7-17 away from home. They began the day as one of six teams separated by only 1 1/2 games for the final five playoff spots in the Western Conference.
“We showed a lot of character and fight,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “That’s what we need on the road in the second half to win. We’ve got to make sure we understand that’s what’s going to make us have a chance.”
Utah’s biggest lead in regulation came when Gordon Hayward’s two free throws made it 93-89 with 5:31 left in the fourth.
Hayward scored 19 points and Devin Harris handed out 10 assists for the Jazz.
Not surprisingly, Johnson was delighted when Jefferson and Millsap both picked up their sixth foul in the last OT.
“I was so happy when they fouled out, man, you wouldn’t even believe it,” Johnson said with a smile.
NOTES: The teams were a combined 2 of 16 from the field in the first OT, and their combined four points tied for 2nd-fewest in NBA history in an overtime period. … Utah dropped to 1-16 when trailing on the road after three periods. … The lead changed hands 14 times. … The score was tied 19 times. … Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said that G Raja Bell is still waiting for results of a second opinion on a strained left adductor that’s sidelined him for the last six games.