Hawks Roll Past Jazz For Third Consecutive Win
The Hawks (15-12) won their third game in a row with a dominant 118-85 win over the Jazz (7-22) behind 25 points off the bench from “Chicken Man” Lou Williams and 23 points from Al Horford. The Hawks were rolling from the start, taking a 30-16 lead after the first quarter, and stayed hot all game, shooting 52.3% from the field (38.5% from three) and scored 115+ points for the third straight game.
|Hawks vs. Jazz|
|Lou’s 6 Threes|
Williams tied a career-high with six made three-pointers (set last Saturday in New York), and was an efficient 8-of-13 (61.5%) from the field (6-of-10 from three) and also added four steals in just 24 minutes. Williams was aggressive at both ends of the floor forcing steals and getting out in transition, and once he got hot shooting the ball, he stayed hot. Williams scored at least five points in all four quarters (5 in 1Q, 6 in 2Q, 6 in 3Q, and 8 in 4Q) and was a big reason why the Hawks’ team offense stayed so consistent all game.
“I just made shots. I talked myself into making shots. I had a lot more confidence. After having two points the other night, I got some extra shooting in. I was just concentrating on just having a good game for the next one. I’m glad it was able to pay off.”
“It’s always good to see Lou [play well],” said Bud. “He’s a shot maker. He can make some tough shots, and that’s why he’s had a heck of a career. He’s got a lot more to give us, and I think he’s still got even more. When he gets more comfortable going to the basket and finishing, we’re going to get more. But it’s good for him see the ball go through and to see him gain his confidence and getting his rhythm.”
Horford was also extremely efficient, going 11-of-15 from the floor for his 23 points, with four rebounds, in just over 22 minutes of play. Horford had the Hawks’ first six points, as he and Paul Millsap worked the two-man game to perfection in the opening minutes.
Millsap, in his first game against his former team, had a good outing with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists in 27 minutes. Millsap was 4-of-10 from the field, but his persistence in getting to the rim earned him eight free throw attempts, which he made six of.
Horford, Millsap, Elton Brand, and all of the Hawks’ bigs did well on the defensive end, as they kept Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and the other Jazz big men from getting easy shot opportunities at the rim. Brand had a monster night on the defensive end with five blocks to go with his four points and eight rebounds, and Horford and Millsap were great with their positioning both in one-on-one situations and help defense. Horford talked about defending Favors and Kanter, and what made the Hawks successful against them.
“Just staying between them and the basket and containing them as best as we could. Really relying on our team defense and we really did a good job as a team defending them.”
Not only were the Hawks able to disrupt the Jazz frontcourt, but the backcourt struggled to get going as Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward had rough nights from the field. Hayward had 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting and Burke had just two points on 1-of-8 shooting. DeMarre Carroll, who like Millsap was playing his first game against his former team, was active defensively with four steals like Williams. Lou spoke about what made their defensive presence so effective and disruptive.
“We knew a lot of their sets. Utah is very consistent with the things that they like to do. They’ve created a culture and tradition there. So, we were just able to read them and they were a step slower tonight for whatever reason, so we were able to play the passing lanes.”
The Hawks got a great deal of production from all of their players, as they were able to get their bench unit on the court a lot and give the starters some rest. All of the starters played between 22 and 27 minutes, while everyone except for Dennis Schröder (8:04) saw more than ten minutes of court time.
Kyle Korver had only six points, but it was enough to extend his record three-point streak to 96 games, and Jeff Teague was distributing the ball well with a team-high eight assists along with nine points.
Mike Scott was the fourth player to score in double figures for the Hawks in the game with 11 points and six rebounds, his third consecutive game with double-digit points. Pero Antic also had a nice game with seven points on 75% shooting in his 11 minutes of play, and John Jenkins got some good burn with seven points, three rebounds, and two assists in 17 minutes.
The Hawks as a team continue to roll along, especially offensively. The Hawks had 32 assists in the game on 45 made shots, their sixth game with 30 or more assists in a game and their third game in a row with 30 or more. The Hawks’ ball movement has been tremendous of late, and Coach Bud is happy with the progress of the Hawks’ offense.
“I think the ball movement and the assists are indicative that they’re getting just better and better understanding of how we want to play and the ball movement and people movement. We want to get open, uncontested shots and it becomes something they all understand. They know when they’re open they’re going to get it. So pass it and hit the open guy is just expected, and we’re all doing it.”
The Hawks will look to carry over this great play that they have had at home when they go on the road Monday night to face the two-time defending champion Heat.
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— Nat Strohl (@natkingstrohl) December 21, 2013
Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images