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Hawks’ Millsap zaps former team

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ATLANTA — The name on the jersey was misspelled, but the Utah Jazz knew exactly who Paul Millsap was after Wednesday night’s game.

The Atlanta forward torched his former team for 30 points and 17 rebounds, leading the Hawks to a 100-97 win at Philips Arena.

Millsap’s No. 4 jersey initially had his name spelled with only one l but was corrected quickly.

Hawks guard Kyle Korver sparked a late fourth-quarter rally to lead the Hawks (4-3) to their seventh straight win over the Jazz (3-6).

Utah guard Alec Burks hit a jumper that put the Jazz up 97-89 with 4:33 to play before the Hawks made their closing run. Millsap hit a couple of buckets, sandwiched around guard Thabo Sefolosha’s layup off a nice feed from Korver to cut the deficit to two.

Korver then drained a deep 3-pointer that put the Hawks ahead 98-97 with a minute left. Hawks point guard Jeff Teague made two free throws to push the lead to three, and Atlanta came up with several key stops in the final minute to preserve the win.

“Looking at our defense in the fourth quarter, holding them to nine points gave us a chance to win a heck of a game,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Very pleased with that effort in fourth quarter.”

Teague had 20 points and eight assists, and Korver finished with 17 points.

Utah point guard Trey Burke missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied it.

“We had a chance to make some plays that we didn’t make,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t think it was any egregious mistake that anyone made. It’s just one of those things where guys (for the Hawks) made shots at the end of the game.”

Millsap, who spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Jazz, dominated Utah’s young frontcourt, scoring from all over the floor, except the foul line.

“I would say (I worked for it),” Millsap said. “No free throws. It’s tough. I had some good looks. (My) teammates found me and led me to some shots tonight.”

Korver, per usual, did his damage from beyond the 3-point line but also grabbed 10 rebounds. The Hawks outrebounded Utah 46-30, helping them overcome 18 turnovers.

Burks paced a balanced Utah attack with 22 points. Forward Derrick Favors added 20 points and center Enes Kanter had 16 for the Jazz. Utah hurt itself at the foul line, connecting on only 6 of 12 attempts.

“I played for two or three years behind Millsap in Utah,” Favors said. “He was an All-Star last year, and he’s a guy I enjoyed going against. I learn new things from him when I play against him.”

The Hawks were missing two key players. Starting forward DeMarre Carroll was out with a groin strain and reserve forward Mike Scott, a major contributor off the bench, was out with a back contusion.

Carroll’s absence was especially notable on the defensive end of the floor for the Hawks, who struggled to contain the up-tempo Jazz in the first half.

Utah built a double-digit lead in the second quarter. But the Hawks, behind Teague and Millsap, closed on a 20-4 run and took a 57-54 lead into halftime.

The Jazz scored eight straight coming out of halftime, on 3-pointers from Burke and forward Gordon Hayward and capped by a Hayward breakaway dunk.

Utah led 88-82 heading into the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold the lead.

All five Jazz starters finished in double figures.

NOTES: Hawks forwards DeMarre Carroll (groin strain) and Mike Scott (back contusion) were inactive against the Jazz. … Utah G Rodney Hood (plantar fasciitis) missed Wednesday’s game. … The Hawks have won the last seven games against the Jazz, including both meetings last season. … Utah F Derrick Favors played high school and college ball in Atlanta at South Atlanta High School and Georgia Tech. … Atlanta is getting assists on 66.7 percent of its made baskets, the best mark in the league. … Hawks F Paul Millsap spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Jazz. … Utah coach Quin Snyder was an assistant coach with the Hawks last season.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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