Paul Millsap
Jazz-Hawks Preview
Paul Millsap

Jazz-Hawks Preview

Published Nov. 14, 2015 11:14 p.m. ET

The Atlanta Hawks didn't look very good without their coach in their latest game, and now they'll have to play without him at least once more.

With Mike Budenholzer still away from the team, two former Utah standouts will try to help Atlanta bounce back Sunday night and help it continue its domination of a Jazz club looking to avoid a winless road trip.

Budenholzer missed the Hawks' game in Boston on Friday night after returning to Atlanta in the morning to attend to his wife's undisclosed medical emergency. He said in a team-released statement that he is ''cautiously optimistic'' about his wife's progress, and he plans to return to the team ''as soon as possible.''

Top assistant Kenny Atkinson took the reins from Budenholzer in Boston, where the Hawks were outrebounded 50-35 in a 106-93 loss. Atlanta (8-3) trailed by as much as 15, fought to within three late in the fourth quarter and then fizzled.


After holding opponents to 95.3 points per game and 40.8 percent shooting through their first six contests, the Hawks have surrendered an average of 107.0 points on 47.9 percent shooting in their last five.

''We just didn't play very good. Sometimes that happens," said Kyle Korver, who reached double figures (11) for just the second time in seven games. "I thought we made some mistakes that really hurt. I think that was the part that was most frustrating.''

The Hawks have won eight games in a row and 11 of 12 against the Jazz, and they've taken four straight and seven of eight in Atlanta. In recent years, a pair of former Jazz players have fueled the Hawks' success.

Paul Millsap started his career in Utah and Korver spent the better part of three seasons there, but each has found key roles with the Hawks.

Millsap has averaged 16.9 points and 9.2 rebounds this season, and he has gone for 20.5 points and 11.5 boards per game in four against his former team. Korver has averaged 17.3 points while sinking 9 of 14 3-pointers against the Jazz in the last three meetings.

While the Hawks will be short-handed on the sidelines, Utah (4-5) may take the court without a pair of regular starters. Center Rudy Gobert (8.7 points, 11.9 rebounds) and guard Rodney Hood (12.1 points) are each questionable. Gobert has sat out two straight games with a sprained left ankle while Hood missed the last one with right foot soreness.

After falling 118-114 at Cleveland to open a four-game trip on Tuesday, the Jazz have struggled to score in consecutive losses. Utah combined to make 38.6 percent of its shots and 28.6 percent of its 3-pointers during losses of 92-91 at Miami on Thursday and 102-93 at Orlando on Friday.

The Jazz trailed 33-15 after the opening quarter in Orlando and Gordon Hayward was Utah's only starter to make a field goal in the first half.

''We had some good looks. We just missed shots,'' said coach Quin Snyder, who was an assistant with Atlanta in 2013-14. ''We were on fumes.''

Derrick Favors scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Heat, but he had five points and seven boards against the Magic while battling foul trouble.


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