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Hawks hang around but run out of steam in Utah, 128-112

A tale of two halves.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks played the fifth leg of the Super Bowl road trip against the Utah Jazz Friday night. They were 2-2 so far on the trip entering Salt Lake City, with wins over the Bulls and Clippers and losses to the Trail Blazers and Kings.

Head coach Lloyd Pierce elected to go with a starting five that included Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, DeAndre’ Bembry, John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon, as he has since Huerter returned from a short stint on the injury report. In opposition, the Jazz ran out their usual group: Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.

Both teams came out of the gates strong offensively until about halfway through the opening quarter, when Atlanta went on a 12-0 run over a three-minute span to prompt a Utah timeout with 2:48 to play in the period. Utah came out of the timeout more focused as a group and took a 36-34 lead into the second quarter after being down seven.

It was a wild start, as both teams lead by at least seven points in the quarter, yet it was a two-point game when it was all said and done.

Young was hot early, scoring 10 points in the first (4-for-5 from the floor, 1-for-2 from three-point-range) and had three assists as well.

Huerter also showed signs of life early after struggling so far on the road trip following his return from missing time last week (sore neck).

The Hawks held the Jazz to only six points in the first six minutes of the second, taking a 49-42 lead. Huerter hit two threes early in the period to give the Hawks a spark from deep, but he also found Collins twice going to the basket for easy buckets.

Dedmon had eight points in the first half, including two three-pointers on five attempts. The Atlanta big continues to put up solid numbers consistently from beyond the arc.

Collins was relatively active with eight points on 3-for-7 from the field, but Gobert’s presence makes it tough sledding around the basket, where Collins typically thrives.

Kent Bazemore got back into the swing of things off the bench, scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds in the half.

The lead got up to 60-52 in favor of the visiting team with under two minutes to play in the second, but the Jazz were able to fight back with a 6-0 to close the gap to only two points at the break, despite the home team shooting 6-for-23 from three-point range in the half. Hawks 60, Jazz 58 at the break.

Atlanta’s rookie backcourt led the way in terms of scoring in the first half.

Ingles led the way for the Jazz with 14 first-half points (5-for-8 from the field, 2-for-4 from three point range). Jae Crowder added ten points off the bench for Utah.

Notably for the Hawks, they were able to limit themselves to only five turnovers for the first half, an issue that has plagued the team for most of the season. While the Jazz lost the turnover battle, they controlled the glass handily, 24-17.

The Jazz started the third with six quick points and regained the lead until Omari Spellman hit a go-ahead three to make it 65-64 three minutes into the third.

Utah responded with eight straight points, prompting a Hawks timeout.

This time, it was the away team sputtering to open a quarter, as Atlanta scored only five points in the first six minutes of the third. The Utah run reached 29-9, spanning over the first eight plus minutes of the second half, while the Jazz led by as many as 13.

Huerter hit a three to cut the deficit back to eight, then found Spellman under the basket a few moments later to cut it to seven with under a minute to play in the third. The Jazz got the lead back up to 12 at one point in a crazy final minute of play in the third, but Young hit a three with the clock winding down to bring the Hawks within nine to close the third.

Young hit two threes in the third, and the Hawks desperately needed both of them.

Huerter added a three as well as a pair of clutch assists to keep the game somewhat within reach.

Dedmon’s third three-pointer of the night got the Hawks back within seven early in the fourth, bringing the visitors within realistic striking distance, but Utah responded with mini-runs to open the lead back up to double-digits every time Atlanta got close.

The Hawks were unable to match the Jazz on either end of the floor in the second half, but the young guys are always good for a couple of highlights. While the team couldn’t quite hang with a more talented and experienced Utah roster, the young core of Young, Collins and Huerter provided much of the offense.

Young and Huerter combined for 42 points and 16 assists while only committing two turnovers total in the game.

Young finished with 28 points (9-for-20 overall, 5-for-10 from three-point range), nine assists, three rebounds and only two turnovers. Young has had a noticeable uptick in scoring on the road trip:

Huerter posted 14 points (5-for-10 from the floor, 4-for-7 from three) and seven assists compared to zero turnovers.

Collins ended up having another solid night, finished with 19 points (8-for-16) and four rebounds. Dedmon added 15 points (3-for-6 from three-point-range).

Gobert led the way for Utah with 25 points (7-for-7 from the field, 11-for-15 from the charity stripe) as well as 13 rebounds. 19 of those points and eight of those rebounds came in the second half as the Jazz ran away with the game. Ingles added 19 for the home team.

The road trip continues Saturday for the Hawks, as they play again tomorrow night in Phoenix.