The Jazz snapped the Hawks’ three-game win streak on Wednesday, downing them 125-119 in State Farm Arena.
Here are five observations.
1. The Hawks opened the night with urgency but it ended up being a little too much as it allowed Utah to get into the bonus early.
The Hawks picked up four fouls within the first two minutes, sending Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen to the free-throw line six times. Markkanen made all of his attempts and the Jazz capitalized on the Hawks’ physicality to get their offense into a rhythm.
Though the Hawks limited the Jazz to 6-of-21 shooting from the floor in the first quarter, they sent them to the line 13 times with Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson combining for 11 of them. Markkanen ended the first quarter with 16 points.
“You kind of get flat,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “What I said to our guys, we can’t let the calls be a distraction. We have to find a way to get ourselves into the game and get a rhythm but it starts with us getting stops and defending without fouling. I think the first four or five possessions we fouled and they went to the free-throw line so you had to find our way out of the hole. And we did but we’ve got to sustain them.”
2. Despite some bursts throughout the night, the Hawks just could not slow the Jazz in the paint or from long range. The Hawks gave up 51 points from beyond the arc and allowed the Jazz to score another 50 in the paint.
The Hawks found the right formula in the third quarter and held the Jazz to 22 points. But the Hawks have had trouble with consistency on the defensive end through their first 10 games. In game 11, that inconsistency reared its head, with the Hawks allowing the Jazz to drop 40 points in the fourth alone.
“We just couldn’t get stops at the start. ... we started the game that way, fouling early, and then gave them a big second quarter and gave them 37 points in the second quarter,” McMillan said.
3. The Hawks’ second unit allowed the Jazz to get back into the game after the starters helped to build up a 10-point lead in the third quarter.
The Jazz bench outscored the Hawks’ second unit 43-19, behind the shooting of guard Malik Beasley. The sixth-year veteran made six of his 10 attempts from long range as he helped the Jazz make 17 3-pointers by the end of the night.
“Their bench is second in the league in scoring,” McMillan said. “They showed why tonight. So they keep the pressure on you offensively, having to guard.”
The Hawks led 86-76 late in the third quarter. But the second unit allowed a six-minute 19-6 run.
The offense just fell stagnant despite Dejounte Murray doing his best to keep it afloat. The Hawks went 1-of-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before the starters returned to the action, but the damage was done by then.
“They were comfortable, confident and they scored the ball,” Murray said. “I think that’s really what you take from it. We weren’t ready and they took advantage of it. And they just kept going in and they had stops. So, that’s the takeaway.”
4. The Hawks’ starters all finished the night in double-digit scoring. Murray scored 26, with Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter chipping in 22 each. John Collins and Clint Capela both scored 15, with Capela pulling down 19 rebounds for the second time in three games.
The starters helped outscore the Jazz 36-22 in the third to get the Hawks out to a 90-85 lead.
The Hawks did not give up, though, with De’Andre Hunter looking to take as many opportunities as he could based on what the Jazz gave him defensively. He went 9-of-15 from the floor but made just one of his six attempts from long distance.
5. The Hawks have not gotten off to the best start from 3-point range this season. The team is knocking down 34.4% of their shots through their first 11 games.
On Wednesday, the Hawks made just eight of their 28 shot attempts from long range, which often ended in empty possessions.
“I think we got a lot of looks that we turned down,” Murray said. “That was something that I kept preaching in the first half and throughout the game. Somebody drives and kicks it to you and you’re wide open, you gotta take it.”
Stat to know
Clint Capela (19 rebounds) tied his season high for rebounds in a single game (also achieved Nov. 5). He joins Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert and Bulls center Nikola Vučević as the only players in the NBA this season to have multiple games with at least 19 rebounds.
“A lot more redding, we call it redding, we’re switching, just trying to keep the team in front, when they get downhill then you know, they could get fouled. They could throw the lob and hit threes. So just switching so that we can keep a man in front of at all times.” — De’Andre Hunter on how the Hawks can limit teams that can stretch the floor.
The Hawks wrap up their four-game homestand on Thursday with a visit from Joel Embiid and the 76ers.