ATLANTA (ABC4 Sporrts) – Once again, winning in Atlanta against the lowly Hawks proves to be too difficult for the Utah Jazz. and now there is a four-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Utah can blame a fourth-quarter fade against Atlanta for being part of the logjam.
Trae Young scored 23 points, including a go-ahead three-point play, and the Atlanta Hawks beat Utah 117-114 on Thursday night to end the Jazz’s five-game winning streak.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 34 points.
Before the costly loss, the Jazz (42-30) held sole claim to fifth in the West. Now they’re tied with San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers.
”This is one game. Obviously, it hurts to lose this one,” Mitchell said.
Utah took the lead by outscoring Atlanta 37-21 in the third period. Playing back-to-back nights, the Jazz couldn’t keep the momentum in the fourth.
”It’s huge for us because we’re chasing that home-court advantage,” Ricky Rubio said. ”Now it’s super hard to get, but we’re going to keep doing everything we can.”�
The Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak. Young, the rookie point guard, says the Hawks also have motivation for a strong finish even though they’re far removed from the playoff race.
”It’s important to everybody in this locker room to go out strong,” said Young, who also had 11 assists. ”Going out strong will help us next year.”
Utah led 110-109 before Young’s basket and free throw with 1:47 gave the Hawks the lead.
The Hawks stretched the lead to four points when an officials’ review confirmed a goaltending call against Rudy Gobert on Dewayne Dedmon’s shot.
A slam by Gobert, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds, cut Atlanta’s lead to 114-112. Dedmon made two free throws. Following a layup by Mitchell, Dedmon made only one of two free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining to give Utah, trailing 117-114, a chance.
Vince Carter fouled Kyle Korver on what was initially ruled a three-shot foul. A review determined Korver would only shoot two free throws. Korver missed both free throws, the second one intentionally, and Mitchell missed a last-second 3-pointer from the corner.
Korver said it was his fault his foot was on the 3-point line.
”I didn’t think it was but I’ve done that a few times lately,” Korver said. ”It’s something I’ve got to be more conscious of. It’s my fault.”
Hawks rookie Kevin Huerter, who had 14 points, sank a 3-pointer to cut Utah’s lead to 99-98 midway through the final period. Rubio answered with two straight jumpers, including a 3-pointer, and set up a layup by Derrick Favors that pushed the lead to 106-98.
After going 12 of 21 on 3-pointers, Atlanta led 65-54 at halftime.
Mitchell opened the second half with a steal and jam to start a 9-0 run. Utah took the lead on Royce O’Neale’s 3-pointer and stretched the lead to 82-73 – capping a 28-8 run to open the half.
The Jazz wrap up their 4-game road trip Saturday night in Chicago.