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Hawks bounce back after rough third quarter, beat Jazz 117-114

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It was a bloodbath coming out of halftime, but Atlanta closed strong.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks were in action from the friendly confines of State Farm Arena Thursday night as the Utah Jazz came to town for the second game of this week’s three-game homestand. The Hawks were coming off the heels of a 121-105 defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Atlanta was able to turn it around on Thursday night and came back for a 117-114 victory in a thriller.

Taurean Prince got the scoring started for Atlanta, while Donovan Mitchell responded off of some dribble handoff action, a Quin Snyder staple, to get the Jazz on the scoreboard in the early going. The opening stretch of the game was back-and-forth, with five lead changes in the first five-plus minutes of play.

Prince led the scoring in the early moments for the home group, with eight of the team’s first 15 points on a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.

Mitchell was the catalyst for the Jazz early, as he often is, with ten points on 4-of-5 shooting in the early going. Trae Young also got going as the quarter unfolded.

A Vince Carter three put the Hawks ahead by one (23-22) with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter, prompting a Jazz timeout after what was the eighth lead change of the opening period. The teams continued to battle for the lead out of the break, with the Hawks holding a slim 29-28 lead at the end of the first.

Mitchell finished the period with ten points, while Young had six points and three assists.

The Hawks pushed out to a four-point lead early in the second, behind multiple Justin Anderson (!!) three-pointers. Alex Len helped extend that lead to seven, briefly, with physical play around the rim while Rudy Gobert was out of the game for the guests.

The Jazz responded with a 7-2 run to get back within five, but the Hawks hot shooting from deep kept them out in front. Atlanta started the second quarter 5-5 from three-point range, and were 10-15 overall at one point. The Hawks were also moving the ball well, with 12 assists on their first 18 made baskets.

While most of the half was tight, the Hawks were able to throttle themselves to a 10-2 to push the lead to double dights for the first time around the 4:30 mark in the second. Utah responded with solid offense out of the stoppage, but Atlanta was able to hold their ground and respond with some buckets of their own.

Dewayne Dedmon and Prince combined to go 8-of-10 from the field, 6-of-7 from three with 22 points (11 each) in the first half.

Young finished the half with ten points and seven assists after this coast-to-coast finish to give Atlanta their biggest lead of the game going into halftime.

Utah came out for the second half firing on all cylinders, with a 9-0 run over a two-minute span to cut the Atlanta lead back to two.

The Hawks muted the run for a moment, but Ricky Rubio got the score back even with an and-one finish and Royce O’Neale hit a three-pointer to give Utah their first lead of the second half midway through the third. It was a 20-6 run, overall, to start the third for the visitors.

The Hawks responded with a 7-1 run after trailing by nine, but the Jazz were able to halt that spurt with a three from Kyle Korver, pushing the deficit back to six late in the third. Atlanta was able to play even with Utah for the remainder of the period, heading to fourth trailing the Jazz by five, 91-86.

After a sloppy start to the fourth for both teams, Kevin Huerter finally broke the seal with a midrange jumper to bring the Hawks back within three with 10:08 remaining. Mitchell responded with a 14-foot pull-up jumper, then Favors got to the cup for an and-one to push the Jazz lead back to seven.

Young responded with a pull-up three-pointer to instantly cut it back to four, then Huerter hit a three of his own to pull the hosts within one at the 7:52 mark.

Utah responded with seven straight points out a timeout as the Hawks suffered through an extended scoreless stretch, pushing it to 106-98 with five minutes to play.

A 9-0 burst for Atlanta put them back ahead at the three minute mark, before Mitchell raced out in transition for a layup that gave the Jazz a one point lead. After a couple more lead changes in the waning moments, Young got the basket for an and-one layup to put the Hawks up two with just 1:47 left. Dedmon added a bunny that was goaltended by Gobert to make it 114-110 in favor of the Hawks with 1:10 remaining.

From there, Utah was in full-blown catch-up mode, trying to extend the game as much as possible with intentional fouls and quick buckets. They had a chance after Dewayne Dedmon missed one of his four late free throws to send the game to overtime, but the Hawks were able to hold on, 117-114.

Behind solid defense and mostly clutch free-throw shooting from Dedmon, Atlanta was able to hold down Utah for the final 70 seconds and squeak out a hard-fought win vs. a solid Western Conference foe.

Young paced the offense for the home team, with 23 points (8-for-22 from the field, 1-for-6 from three-point-range) and 11 assists. Huerter added 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting, while Dedmon added 18 points and eight rebounds.

Mitchell had 34 points, leading the way for the Jazz, as he often does. On top of the scoring outburst, the second-year guard also showed on his dunk arsenal for the Atlanta crowd.

During the first quarter, Kyle Korver received a tribute video and standing ovation from the crowd. We miss you, Kyle.

The Hawks will be back in action from State Farm Arena Saturday to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in what looks like will (finally) be Joel Embiid’s debut at State Farm Arena. The fifth-year center has never played in front of the Atlanta faithful, largely due to injury.