The Hawks’ winning ways continue.
With a 98-92 victory at the Jazz Friday night, the Hawks have won 17 of their past 19 games. The victory moved the Hawks (24-8) into a tie with the Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors played at the Warriors Friday night.
The Hawks took the lead with 9:08 left in the first quarter and never trailed, although the Jazz made it close on several occasions.
In the end, the Hawks’ talent was too much for the Jazz in their eighth straight win over Utah.
Here are five observations from the game:
1. After a slow start – as in 2:36 – the Hawks caught fire in the first quarter. The Hawks failed to score in the opening minutes, missing their first four shots and committing three turnovers. They then responded with a 28-5 run to lead by 19 points, 28-9. The Jazz, mostly behind the second unit, rallied and cut the deficit to as few as three points. Once the starters returned, the Hawks pushed their lead back to 12 points, 57-45, at halftime.
2. It was Jeff Teague’s turn for a big night. The point guard dominated the Jazz, particularly Trey Burke, and scored a game-high 26 points. He had 18 first-half points as the Hawks built their big lead. Teague added eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. By stark contrast, Burke finished with eight points on 2 of 19 shooting, including 0 of 11 from 3-point range.
3. It was a strange night for Paul Millsap. The forward finished with 15 points, 10 of which came in the third quarter as he made all eight free-throw attempts. For the game, Millsap was 2 of 11 from the field. He added 11 rebounds. The Hawks’ three former Jazz players – Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver – combined for 36 points, 26 rebounds and nine assists.
4. The Hawks held the Jazz’s Gordon Hayward in check for the second time this season. The forward finished with 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting. Combined with the Hawks’ victory in Atlanta earlier this season, Hayward is 11 of 30 from the field.
5. The Hawks start another tough road trip with a victory. They are 7-2 against the Western Conference. Next are the Trail Blazers Saturday night and the trip ends at the Clippers Monday. Who would doubt what this team can do the way they are playing right now?