Hawks trip Jazz, end West Coast swing with victory
SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap made themselves right at home in their return to Utah.
Just when Atlanta seemed almost incapable of winning a road game, Korver and Millsap broke the hearts of the fans that cheered them for years to finally help the Hawks break through.
Korver scored 26 points and Millsap added 23 against their former team as the Hawks outlasted the Utah Jazz 112-110 on Monday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
Millsap said there were times were he almost felt like he wasn’t playing on the road
"I played in this gym for seven years. I felt real comfortable," he said after helping the Hawks end a 10-game road losing streak.
Most of the Atlanta starting lineup spent significant time playing for the Jazz. DeMarre Carroll (2011-13), Korver (2007-10) and Millsap (2006-13) all received warm applause when they were introduced before the game.
"It was like a reunion, a family reunion. I saw a lot of familiar faces," Millsap said.
But familiarity didn’t make it a cakewalk.
Korver made all four of his 3-point attempts in his old stomping grounds but never felt totally safe. The Hawks blew a 17-point lead and it was like re-run Korver had seen dozens of times.
"I was a part of so many games when the Jazz were down at halftime, just like tonight, and then came roaring back. The crowd gets behind them," Korver said.
Jeff Teague had 14 points and the Hawks used a late 16-4 run to salvage a win at the end of a gloomy six-game road trip.
The Jazz led 96-93 after Trey Burke’s 3-pointer, but Korver started an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer and then a contested jumper to beat the shot clock.
Trey Burke made a layup before Millsap countered with two free throws and Korver added two of his own to seemingly put the game out of reach.
Trailing 109-100 with 26 seconds left, the Jazz made it interesting with 10 points in the last 16 seconds.
"In the second half, we made a significant change but it was a little too late and they made some big shots down the stretch," said Burke, who scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half.
Marvin Williams had 18 for the Jazz, who have lost six of their last seven.
Carroll had 11 points as the trio of former Jazz-players-turned-Hawks combined for 15 of the Hawks’ 16 points in the game-clinching run.
The Hawks led by 17 points in the first half before the Jazz rallied in the third quarter. Utah outscored Atlanta 36-19 in the period and capped an 18-7 run with Hayward’s rebound dunk just before the buzzer for an 80-78 edge.
"We didn’t respond to their pressure and it turned into a heck of a game," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Millsap missed five games with a badly bruised knee and then struggled a bit in his first two games back in limited minutes. He regained his All-Star form against his former team, which decided to go with a youth movement and let him sign with the Hawks in the offseason.
Millsap was 7 of 14 from the field and had eight rebounds to help the Hawks, who had a tough time matching up with the Jazz inside. Utah outrebounded Atlanta 45-34.
The Hawks, desperately trying to hang on to the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, finally started to see things click in Los Angeles on Saturday before losing 109-108 to the Clippers.
"We felt like we needed this big-time. We felt like we fought hard in the previous game and just came up short. I hope this will a good momentum boost going forward.
Teague, who missed a key free throw against the Clippers, missed two down the stretch again but made four to help Atlanta avoid its 15th loss in the last 16 games.
The Hawks are 3 games in front of the Knicks in the race for the playoffs.
he Jazz just finished their own nightmare of an extended road trip, losing five of their six games before outlasting Philadelphia 104-92 in the finale.
The Hawks allowed an average of 113 points on better than 50-percent shooting, including 44 percent from 3-point range. But the Hawks made 13 of 29 from beyond the arc to get the win, which is their fourth straight at Utah after dropping their previous 15.
"The Jazz have so much tradition and it’s like one big family here. Once you’re part of the Jazz, you never leave all the way," Korver said.
NOTES: Former Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone sat courtside and used a giant slingshot to hurl balls into the crowd during a timeout. … Utah’s 36 third-period points tied for the most against the Hawks this season. … The 10 consecutive road losses were Atlanta’s worst away drought since losing the final 13 in 2006-07. . The Hawks set a new franchise record with 28 games with 10 or more 3-pointers.