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News » Hawks-Jazz Preview

Hawks-Jazz Preview

Hawks-Jazz Preview
In their last game at EnergySolutions Arena before team owner Larry H. Miller is laid to rest, the Utah Jazz want nothing more than to end their homestand with a 5-0 mark.

With 14 consecutive home wins against Atlanta, Utah has a good chance at making that happen Monday night against the Hawks.

The Jazz (33-23) won their fourth straight Saturday, defeating New Orleans 102-88 in their first game since the 64-year-old Miller died Friday due to complications with diabetes.

"It's great to win on a night like this. We wanted to win for Larry and the whole Miller family," Deron Williams said. "They're going through a tough time and hopefully this can ease their pain just a little bit for one night."

Williams posted his fifth straight double-double with 20 points and 13 assists before handing the game ball to Miller's widow, Gail.

Funeral services for Miller will be Saturday afternoon at EnergySolutions Arena. After Monday, the Jazz do not play at home again until they host Sacramento on Saturday night.

"Sometimes emanations and everything get involved and everybody handles it a little differently. We made it through a tough time today," said Utah coach Jerry Sloan, whose team has won seven straight at home by an average of 15.4 points. "Regardless of what happens day-to-day, you still have a job to do. And in respect to Larry Miller and his family, that's what we were supposed to do."

Since losing four in a row from Jan. 21-27, Utah is 8-2, raising its record to 10 games above .500 for the first time in 2008-09. A victory Monday would match the Jazz's longest winning streak of the season. They won five straight to open the season before dropping four of five.

Williams has been a major reason for this recent surge, averaging 27.4 points, 10.2 assists and shooting 55.3 percent from the field in his last nine games.

The Hawks' last victory in Utah was 121-112 on Feb. 13, 1993.

Atlanta arrives at EnergySolutions Arena following Friday's 108-98 loss to Portland. The Hawks (32-23) fell to 2-2 on their six-game stretch away from Philips Arena.

Mike Bibby hit 10-of-14 shots and had a team-high 27 points against the Trail Blazers. He is shooting 60.6 percent from the field and averaging 28.0 points in his last two games.

Joe Johnson posted his third sub-37.0 percent shooting game Friday, hitting just 7-of-22 shots (31.8 percent). He scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half, but Portland went on a 29-15 run following a 3 from Marvin Williams that pulled the Hawks within 68-66 with 4:15 left in the third.

"They made a run in the second half and it really put them over the hump," Johnson said. "We just couldn't recover from it."

Johnson scored 26 points as the Hawks snapped a nine-game losing streak to Utah with a 116-111 win in Atlanta on Dec. 17, 2007.

Josh Smith posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards in that victory. He has struggled lately, though, scoring just 10.8 points and grabbing 3.2 boards per game in his last five contests. Smith averaged 17.9 points and 9.6 rebounds in his previous 14 games.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 22, 2009


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