Atlanta • Gordon Hayward could’ve played 10 more overtimes. Paul Millsap knew as soon as the war was over, he would remember it the rest of his life. C.J. Miles’ first-take: shocking, surreal and heartbreaking.
In one of the most memorable contests in Jazz history, Utah fell 139-133 in quadruple overtime to Atlanta at Phillips Arena.
It was the only four-OT game in the Jazz’s 38 years as a franchise, and the first in the NBA since Phoenix beat Portland 140-139 in 1997.
For Utah and Atlanta, Sunday’s combined numbers were staggering: 272 points, 233 field-goal attempts and 128 rebounds during a contest that officially took 68 minutes and lasted 3 hours, 17 minutes. All of Utah’s starters played at least 49:33, with four passing 51 and Hayward clocking a game-high 57:28, which tied a record set by Karl Malone in 1992.
The lead changed hands 14 times, the Jazz and Atlanta were tied 19 times, and when the fury was finally over, the teams had tied for the third-longest game in NBA history.
“That’s what basketball’s made of. That’s what we play this game for: chances like that, games like that,” said Millsap, who scored 25 points and collected 13 rebounds. “Even though it hurts afterwards — we didn’t come up with the win — it was still a fun game to be part of. I just wish we could’ve won it.”
The Jazz’s (26-23) resilient fight, never-say-die attack, numerous clutch plays and 15-point second-half comeback were washed away by the only number that ultimately mattered: four.
While Utah watched starters Al Jefferson, Millsap and Miles walk off the hardwood after picking up their sixth personal foul during the fourth and final overtime, Hawks guard Joe Johnson found another level. He scored eight of Atlanta’s 16 points, punching Utah in the gut and leaving the Jazz to reflect on a surreal series of gutsy plays, made shots, missed potential game-winners and thrilling overtimes that only produced defeat when the buzzer finally rang.
In turn, Utah’s season-high six-game winning streak was snapped, and the Jazz fell into a three-way tie with Houston and Denver for seventh place in the Western Conference.
Jefferson led Utah with team highs in points (28) and rebounds (17), but the Jazz shot just 38.9 percent (49 of 126) from the floor.
Johnson scored a game-high 37 points for Atlanta (30-20), including 18 during the first quarter on 8-of-8 shooting. Center Zaza Pachulia added 15 points and a game-high 20 boards.
“It’s tiring. But these kinds of things you’ve got to enjoy if you love competing,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It’s a great game to be part of. It’d have been a greater game to win it. But you’ve got to learn your lesson.”
When the battle was over, Hayward knew exactly how long he had fought. He swore he could’ve gone longer — he would’ve done anything to deliver Utah an unforgettable win. But in defeat, the only things that stood out were his 57:28 and the Jazz’s heart.
“It does show a lot about us,” Hayward said. “If we would’ve played in the second half like we did in the first, we wouldn’t have been in this situation. But it was the way we fought back and [us] taking the lead. It was like we had control of the game in the second half.”
Utah did. Discovering a spark that was buried for the first two quarters, the Jazz turned a 55-38 deficit into a 93-89 advantage with 5:31 left in regulation. Millsap then missed an open-look 11-foot jumper as time expired, which could’ve ended the game before the real show even started.
After Utah and Atlanta combined for just four points during the first overtime — the second-lowest total in NBA history — the Jazz jumped ahead 109-104 with 1:54 left in the second OT.
Johnson smoothly drilled a step-back 26-foot 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds remaining, though, tying the contest 113-113 and extending the game again.
Devin Harris and Millsap eventually missed potential game-winners, and the Hawks used a 131-125 lead in quadruple overtime to finally silence Utah.
As impressive as the Jazz’s fight was, Atlanta’s was even stronger. The Hawks were playing the third game of a back-to-back-to-back and lost forward Josh Smith (22 points, 10 rebounds) with 1:57 left in the initial overtime.
“That was something,” Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. “It’s all happened to us this year thus far. We’ve gone through injury, emergencies with families. We’ve gone through zigzagging all over the states — 11-, 12-day trips. Now we go into a back-to-back-to-back. And on the third night, we go into — was it four? Four overtimes. This team didn’t have any quit in them.”
Neither did the Jazz. Utah just ran out of time.
“For our young guys to see the effort and energy — to think you’re out of it and fight your way back in it — you just keep making plays,” Corbin said. “You never know in this league. We will get better. We will learn from this.”
And the game won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
R In short • The Jazz play their first quadruple-overtime game in franchise history but fall to Atlanta.
Key stat • All of Utah’s starters play at least 49:33, with Gordon Hayward clocking a game-high 57:28.
Key moment • Joe Johnson sinks a 20-foot fadeaway jumper with 16.9 seconds left in the fourth overtime, giving Atlanta a 135-131 lead.
Longest games in Jazz history
Utah’s four-OT loss to Atlanta on Sunday was the only time the Jazz have played four extra periods in the franchise’s 38-year history.
Time Opponent Date W/L Score Site
3:17 Atlanta Sunday L 139-133 (4OT) Atlanta
3:11 Chicago 2/3/92 W 126-123 (3OT) Salt Lake City
3:10 L.A. Lakers 12/1/05 L 105-101 (OT) Salt Lake City
3:07 L.A. Lakers 1/24/00 W 105-101 (2OT) Salt Lake City
3:06 Miami 3/14/09 L 140-129 (3OT) Miami
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest NBA game in the shot-clock era (beginning 1954-55) was Milwaukee’s 155-154 five-overtime victory against Seattle on Nov. 9, 1989.
Including the Jazz’s 139-133 four-OT loss to Atlanta on Sunday, there have been seven quadruple-overtime games in league history since 1954-55.
Indianapolis beat Rochester, 75-73, during a six-overtime game in 1951.