Paul Millsap put up a tremendous performance, but the Atlanta Hawks came up just short in a 97-96 loss to the Utah Jazz Sunday at Philips Arena. The Hawks were already playing without one starter in Jeff Teague who sat out the game due to an ankle injury. They lost Kent Bazemore midway through the fourth quarter with an ankle injury of his own.
The Jazz got off to a hot start shooting over 60 percent from the field in the opening quarter. Atlanta was able to weather the early storm thanks to six first quarter turnovers by Utah and trailed 27-24 at the end of one. The Hawks picked up their defensive intensity a bit in the second and that helped them find a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. Atlanta made 12 of 18 shots in the second period and finished the half with an 18-5 run to take a 52-47 lead at the half.
Paul Millsap scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the third but the Hawks were unable to garner any separation from the Jazz. A three-pointer from Alec Burks with 4.2 remaining send the game to the fourth tied at 74-74.
Utah was able to pull slightly ahead midway through the fourth and took an 95-88 advantage on a Burks jumper with 2:20 remaining. The Hawks weren't finished yet however as Al Horford knocked down a three to cut the lead back to four points with just under two minutes remaining. The Jazz turned it over on the next possession leading to a layup by Millsap and the Hawks trailed by just two.
Derrick Favors put the Jazz back up four when he knocked down a 17 foot jumper off a nice pick and roll pass from Rodney Hood with just 38.3 seconds remaining. After a timeout, the Hawks executed a beautiful sideline out of bounds play that resulted in another Horford three-pointer from the corner. Horford struggled through the first three quarters of the game but got it together in the fourth scoring 12 of his 16 points in the fourth.
Atlanta got the stop they were looking for at the other end when Favors missed a jumper with 12.8 remaining. Dennis Schröder pushed the ball into the frontcourt and the Hawks took a time out with 3.8 remaining. The play went to Millsap who made a nice move to free himself but his game winning attempt from the baseline came up just short sealing the win for the Jazz.
The Hawks will try to snap their two-game losing streak on Tuesday when they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets.