The Atlanta Hawks look for their third straight win Friday night when they take on the Utah Jazz at Philips Arena. Atlanta is still in third place in the Eastern Conference and has climbed to two games over .500 at 14-12.
Friday's game will be a reunion game of sorts with Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll facing Utah for the first time since signing with Atlanta. Millsap was drafted by the Jazz in 2006 and spent the first seven years of his career in Utah. Carroll played for the Jazz the last two seasons before signing a two-year deal with the Hawks this past offseason. Both have played a big part for Atlanta this season.
The game is also a homecoming of sorts for Marvin Williams who is in his second year with the Jazz. Williams spent seven seasons with the Hawks after being drafted No. 2 overall out of North Carolina in 2005. Williams has played well since joining the Utah starting lineup and the Jazz are 6-4 when he starts. Atlanta native Derrick Favors is expected to start at center on Friday for the Jazz and is getting an opportunity to shine now that Millsap and Al Jefferson have moved on.
Utah comes into this game with just a 7-21 record but they have played better of late in large part due to rookie Trey Burke. The Jazz defeated Orlando 86-82 on Wednesday with Burke going for 30 points and eight assists. Jeff Teague bounced back from a string of sub par outings to record a near triple-double of 18 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds in a win over the Sacramento Kings. In short, the point guard matchup on Friday should be a fun one to watch.
A quick glance at the numbers reveals that this is a game the Hawks should win. Atlanta is in the top have of the league in offensive and defensive rating while Utah is at the bottom. Sometimes things aren't quite that simple and the Hawks will need to bring a solid defensive effort early to grab control of this game. Utah's youth and inexperience can likely be taken out early but Atlanta should be careful not to let them hang around.
Game date/time: Friday, December 20, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"