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Offense betrays short-handed Hawks in 112-91 loss to Jazz

Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

With five players — headlined by Trae Young (right calf contusion) and De’Andre Hunter (right knee discomfort) — sidelined on Thursday, the Atlanta Hawks began the evening behind the eight-ball against the Utah Jazz. Offensively, the Hawks flailed throughout the night and, after 48 minutes, Atlanta suffered a third consecutive loss, falling to the Jazz by a final margin of 112-91.

In short, the first half was as ugly as the score indicated, with only 82 combined points. Atlanta shot just 6-of-26 from the floor in the first quarter, generating only three assists, and there was little to brag about in terms of execution. Fortunately, Utah scored only six points in the final seven-plus minutes of the opening quarter, allowing the Hawks to hang around.

When searching for a bright spot, Kevin Huerter fit the bill, scoring seven of the first 11 points for the Hawks and providing shot creation.

Utah continued to scuffle to begin the second quarter offensively and, when Huerter connected on a three-pointer to slash the margin to 22-21, Atlanta was in solid position. The Jazz did string together an immediate 7-0 run, however, and Utah led by double-figures at multiple points in the second quarter.

The Hawks did end on an encouraging note, led by John Collins, and that allowed Atlanta to climb back within eight points at the break. Defensively, the Hawks did a credible job, forcing Utah to shoot less than 40 percent from two-point range and forcing 10 turnovers. Offense was still an issue, though, as the Hawks converted only 15-of-50 from the floor in the first 24 minutes.

Coming out of the halftime break, things swung further in Utah’s favor with a 10-4 run by the visitors. Atlanta got to the free throw line but, from a shooting standpoint, the home team missed their first seven shots of the half, falling to an unbelievable 15-of-57 from the floor.

Collins mercifully broke the drought with about eight minutes to go in the third quarter.

Atlanta’s offense was marginally better from there, but Utah’s offense awakened, putting the Hawks in a difficult position. Brandon Goodwin connected on a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter to cut the margin to 17, but the fourth quarter came and went with no tangible push from the Hawks.

On the bright side, Tony Snell buried four (!) three-pointers in the closing period.

Overall, it was a brutal night for the Hawks, even when adjusting expectations with Young, Hunter and others out of the lineup. Collins led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds, with Huerter adding 16 points. Capela contributed 17 rebounds, though he was just 3-of-14 from the floor against Rudy Gobert.

After the mid-week back-to-back, the Hawks will have Friday off before hosting the Toronto Raptors at State Farm Arena.

Stay tuned.