Hawks take aim at avenging lopsided loss to Jazz

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks, trying to atone for a rare and very lopsided loss at Utah, will try to beat the Jazz for the eighth time in the past 10 home meetings on Monday night.

The Hawks certainly will have a little payback on their minds after the 95-68 blowout victory by the Jazz at home on Nov. 25 that snapped a six-game winning streak for Atlanta at Utah.

It was the second largest margin of victory ever for the Jazz over the Hawks, who were in a 1-10 slump when the teams first played.

Atlanta (30-21) is in a 15-5 stretch now and is just a half-game behind first-place Washington in the Southeast Division.

Utah (31-19) is first in the Northwest Division and has won nine of its past 12 games as it begins a three-game road trip.

Forward Gordon Hayward, named to the All-Star team, had 33 points and guard George Hill scored 25 as the Jazz defeated Charlotte 105-98 in Utah on Saturday thanks to a fourth quarter comeback that saw the Hornets held to 16 points after scoring 38 in the third quarter.

"There's an urgency we had when we got behind," said Jazz coach Quinn Snyder, a former Hawks assistant. "We get to a point where we're not playing well for a while and then it kicks in and the level rises. We have to do a better job of maintaining that, or reaching that or at least approaching that during the guts of the game. Not just at the end of the game."

Utah was without guard Rodney Hood, who suffered a hyper-extended right knee last week. Hood, averaging 13.9 points, will also likely miss the game against the Hawks.

Forward Derrick Favors, an Atlanta native, returned off the bench against the Hornets after sitting out two games as he works through the remaining issues with his left knee.

"The wear and tear of the season is just something you have to manage," Snyder said.

"Sometimes it's just a question of taking a couple days and you're good to go."

Forward Paul Millsap, a former Jazz player who will be appearing in his fourth All-Star Game since joining the Hawks, had 21 points in three quarters as Atlanta routed Orlando on Saturday at the start of a three-game homestand.

Swingman Tim Hardaway, starting with Thabo Sefolosha out because of a groin strain, also had 21 points as he picked right up where he left off after scoring 23 of his career-best 33 points during a 20-point fourth-quarter comeback in the previous game at Houston.

"He's playing out of his mind," teammate Kent Bazemore said.

The Hawks have had trouble with letdowns after big victories, but that wasn't the case against Orlando.

"Hawks basketball at its finest," said Hardaway, citing the team's defensive effort and ball sharing. "We have to continue to keep doing it, do it for 48 minutes. If we play like that, we not only make ourselves happy, we make the coaching staff happy."

The Jazz won 97-96 at Atlanta last year, but the Hawks bounced back to win 91-84 at Utah.

The first meeting this year wasn't nearly as close as either game. The Hawks scored only 11 points in the second quarter and 14 in the third during the blowout.

Hayward had 24 points in that game and Hill scored 23. The Hawks shot just 31.3 percent.