In the last home game before the Christmas holiday, the Lou Williams-led Hawks managed to keep the Utah Jazz and their rookie of the year candidate at bay for a 118-85 victory Friday night.
After coming off a career night Wednesday against the Orlando Magic, scoring a season-high 30 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Utah’s Trey Burke was shut down by the Hawks defense, only to be allowed two points, going one for eight from the field on the evening.
“A rookie thinks things will be the same the next night, but it’s a different opponent, different city, and a different flow to the game to the game,” Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He started to press a little early, and then he got in foul trouble and had to come out. He just couldn’t get the same rhythm tonight.”
Friday marked Burke’s first return to Atlanta since the former Michigan Wolverines guard faced defeat against the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA national championship game in April.
The Jazz’s coach was also making a notable return to Atlanta. Corbin was a starting forward for the Hawks from 1996-99.
In what was believed to be a “battle of the back court,” Atlanta maintained control from the start of the evening, limiting the Jazz to only 26.1 percent from the field in the first quarter.
“It was one of those nights where they just couldn’t make a shot and we were fortunate in that sense,” Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I do like the mentality that our group came out with tonight.”
Kyle Korver’s streak of consecutive games with at least one three point field goal extended to 96 games after an assist by Hawks guard Jeff Teague with time winding down the first quarter.
Utah struggled with inconsistency for the remainder of the game, unable to find a Jazz player to crack double figures until shooting guard Gordon Hayward managed to push his total to 11 points midway through the third quarter.
The night ultimately belonged to Williams, who finished with 25 points off the bench.
Williams lit Utah up with a barrage of three pointers, totaling six from beyond the arc. The six 3-pointers were a new career high for Williams. While he only needed 10 shots to get there, the Jazz went 3 of 15 shooting from long range.
“After having two points the other night, [against Los Angeles] I got some extra shooting in and I was just concentrating on having a good game,” Williams said. “It’s one of those nights where we had everything clicking and on all cylinders.”
Leaders on the night for Utah came from the bench, as center Enes Kanter and guard Alex Burks each finished with 13 point