Hawks 105, Jazz 100

BY foxsports • February 23, 2010

The last time the Atlanta Hawks celebrated a victory in Salt Lake City, Joe Johnson was a star player in an Arkansas Boys Club grade-school league.

Yep, it's been a while.

Now an NBA All-Star, Johnson scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hawks win in Utah for the first time in 17 years, beating the short-handed Jazz 105-100 on Monday night.

The Hawks hadn't won in Utah since Feb. 13, 1993, when Dominique Wilkins scored 43 points to lead Atlanta to a 121-112 victory.

``It's about time,'' Johnson said. ``The last time our team won here, I was just a little kid watching Dominique and dreaming I might play in the NBA someday.''

The Hawks knew all about the drought.

``The streak was brought to our attention before the game, so we wanted to come out early and establish ourselves,'' Johnson said. ``We wanted to make sure they knew it wasn't going to be the same type of game they are used to seeing out of us.''

Johnson made a 3-pointer with 2:28 left that gave the Hawks a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

``Joe hit a big shot in one of our isolations, which we needed,'' Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. ``Other than that, it was pick and rolls down the stretch for us and we really executed well.''

Josh Smith added 18 points and Jamal Crawford, who had 17, followed Johnson's long jumper with a steal and two free throws as the Jazz lost for just the third time in 20 games.

``They all passed the ball and they've all got the ability to shoot the ball out on the floor, so you're really put in a tough situation with how much help you can give inside,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

Playing without Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, the Jazz stayed close until the final minute, but allowed the Hawks to shoot 54 percent.

``We can't make excuses,'' said Paul Millsap, who led the Jazz with 14 points. ``Losing Deron and Andrei just gives other guys the opportunity to step up. We just have to do a better job down the stretch.''

Ronnie Price and Kyle Korver each had 13 points for the Jazz, who missed a chance to catch the Denver Nuggets for a share of the Northwest Division lead and the second position in the Western Conference standings.

A night after a 22-point, 23-rebound effort, Carlos Boozer had 12 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high eight assists but missed a couple of late shots and dropped a rebound out of bounds when the Jazz had a chance to tie it in the final minute.

Williams briefly left Sunday's game at Portland with a leg injury, but returned to help the Jazz complete a 93-89 overtime victory after trailing by 25 points. Williams had 18 points and 12 assists, while playing tenacious defense against Brandon Roy in the final minutes.

Kirilenko left against the Trail Blazers in the first quarter with back pain, an ongoing issue for the lanky forward. His recent play has been critical in Utah's surge, but he has now sat out seven games this season with the ailment.

``You could tell we played an overtime game last night,'' Korver said. ``In the end, we couldn't make shots, and we couldn't get stops and Joe Johnson just played really, really well.''

The Hawks squandered a 17-point fourth-quarter advantage in a 108-104 loss at Golden State on Sunday and had dropped three of four games. But they made 10 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter and outscored the Jazz 31-25 to claim the rare win at Utah.

``Yesterday was yesterday and we put that behind us and moved forward,'' Johnson said.

Johnson made a contested jumper to make it 101-97 and then C.J. Miles missed two free throws on the other end with 32.2 seconds remaining. The rebound resulted in a jump ball that Smith won. Johnson and Crawford made free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.

``We were really committed tonight,'' Woodson said. ``Instead of playing 36 minutes, we competed for the entire 48 minutes. Tonight, we bounced back and played well against a great team, probably the hottest team in the league.''

Beyond snapping a 15-game road losing streak in Utah, the win clinched Atlanta's first season series sweep of the Jazz since the 1992-93 season.

NOTES: Mehmet Okur returned to the lineup after missing two games for the birth of his son, but played only 14 minutes and had six points. ... The Jazz had a 25-4 advantage in second-chance points and outscored Atlanta 58-36 in the paint. ... The Hawks are 18-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

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