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Hawks are sunk by Clarkson, Jazz late surge 116-98

Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Hawks taking the floor in their City Edition Uniforms modeled after the red, black and yellow 90s throwback scheme, Atlanta was looking to start a new trend in advance of a brutal West Coast road trip after tonight. The Hawks came into the contest tonight at a record of 4-4 and 3-0 at home, but had been just 1-3 in their last four games.

The Utah Jazz were without the services of Donovan Mitchell and relied on a Mike Conley Jr. and Joe Ingles backcourt to lead them tonight. The Hawks countered with their full assortment of 15 players minus Onyeka Okongwu who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

With the #Forever404 celebration, the unveiling of new jerseys, and members of the recent World Series Champion Atlanta Braves in attendance, it seemed bound to be a thrilling affair. The first quarter, however, was anything but.

The game started slow and choppy, with both sides generating good looks but failing to knock them down. The Jazz started just 3-of-20 from the field, including 1-for-8 from long range while the Hawks weren’t much better at 7-for-21 and 2-9 respectively.

Trae Young did gift all of us a vintage Trae Young assist, finding John Collins here falling out of bounds somehow.

The teams would combine for just 31 points in the first quarter with the Hawks securing a 1-point lead behind a stingy defensive performance.

Offensively, however, Atlanta had an ugly section across the first two quarters with just one field goal from 2:02 in the first period until 7:32 in the second period with just one field goal. This coincided with a full bench lineup that has yet to get going in the young season, as the quintet of Lou Williams, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, Danilo Gallinari and Gorgui Dieng sagged to a 2-for-17 (11.8%) shooting performance in the first half.

Once the starters came in to finish the second half, however, there was a visible rejuvenation in the Hawks attack, with multiple screen actions freeing Clint Capela for lob finishes. It turns out John Collins isn’t the only one who Trae Young can set up with a backboard pass.

They then got rolling in transition, with players like De’Andre Hunter the recipient of easy points. Hunter lead all Hawks with 12 points in the first half on just eight shots. As a team, Atlanta didn’t give Utah many easy buckets, only turning the ball over once and committing no live ball turnovers in the first 24 minutes.

The Hawks began the second half on an 8-0 tear to push the lead to nine. it remained back-and-forth affair from there. Atlanta did a good job racking up fouls with their aggression to the hole, and entered the bonus before the third quarter was even half over. The Hawks’ defense, however, would repay Utah with a number of reaching fouls of their own to hand Utah back the lead from the free throw line.

Still, Atlanta hung in there and a Lou Williams old school three-point play brought the Hawks to within one as the fourth quarter commenced.

The fourth quarter began a lot how the previous one ended, and a Williams floater gave the lead back to the Hawks. But some offensive indecisiveness led to transition opportunities for the Jazz, and the Hawks’ starters were forced to make up a 7-point deficit with nine minutes left in the contest.

Jordan Clarkson burned the Hawks badly in the second half despite coming into the game in a brutal shooting slump.

Young did his best to keep Atlanta in the contest with a flurry of floaters and pull ups from inside the arc. He was the owner of four straight Hawks field goals midway through the fourth to maintain shouting distance from the visitors.

Still the Jazz wouldn’t be stopped. A 7-for-11 (64%) tear from behind the arc put the lead at an arms length. Utah used a 58-30 streak during 15 minutes of game time and 101 points across the final three quarters to ultimately do the Hawks in. Even a Hack-a-Gobert strategy proved fruitless, as the lead ballooned to 19 with under three minutes left in the game, and the third team entered the game to signal the white flag.

Young finished with 21 points but on an inefficient 20 shots but did add seven assists. Three other Hawks had double figures in scoring including Capela, who added 10 rebounds, and Hunter, who only took a single field goal attempt in the second half despite the strong first half.

The Hawks allowed Clarkson to net 30 points on 19 shots and the Jazz as a whole ended the game hitting 17-of-41 (42%) shots from three despite the woeful start. Atlanta now begins a long road trip searching for answers after falling to below .500 for the first time this season at 4-5. Atlanta will look to right the ship in Phoenix on Saturday.