Utah Jazz fall to Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
Ex-Jazzman Millsap tallies 14 points, 10 rebounds for Hawks.
Published: December 21, 2013 02:39PM
Updated: February 14, 2014 11:48PM
image
Utah Jazz small forward Richard Jefferson (24) scores as Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta • It looked so familiar as the undersized power forward bulldogged his way to a double-double, fighting his way through traffic and getting to the line, scrapping for loose balls and keeping possessions alive with an extra jump.

Only this time, it didn’t say “Jazz” across Paul Millsap’s chest.

Friday night, five months after leaving Utah, the place where he transformed from an overlooked second-round pick to an NBA starter during his first seven seasons in the league, Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks rolled over his old team, 118-85, at Philips Arena.

Millsap was hardly the star on the night for Atlanta. Backup guard Lou Williams scored 25 points thanks to a career-high six 3-pointers, and center Al Horford dropped 23 on the lifeless Jazz. But in Millsap, for one night at least, Utah saw something it lacked.

“He came out with a purpose,” said Utah’s Derrick Favors, who backed up Millsap for the last three seasons. “He wanted to beat us. We’ve got to come out with the same intensity next game.”

Millsap grabbed 10 rebounds and overcame a poor shooting night with free throws to score 14 points — more than any Jazz player.

Earlier in the day, he had said the matchup would be “like any other game,” and his steady demeanor showed through on the court Friday.

“Paul was very collected,” Horford said. “You would have never guessed that he had played there. He looked normal. It was just another game for him. It will be interesting to see when we go to Utah, maybe he will get a little [emotional]. He’s one of those guys you can never tell because he’s got the same face and the same focus.”

The Jazz, meanwhile, are in search of consistency.

Utah hardly looked the same team that had beaten the Orlando Magic two nights earlier. Rookie point guard Trey Burke, who hit for a season-high 30 on Wednesday, finished with just 2 points in 20 minutes Friday. It took Gordon Hayward until the end of the third quarter and 14 shots to reach 11 points.

“It’s just unfortunate,” said Hayward. “I thought we were taking a step forward but we took another one back today. We’ve got to learn a lesson that we can’t just show up and play basketball games. We’ve got to be better and thankfully we can play tomorrow and get this one out of our minds.”

Backups Enes Kanter (13 points, 13 rebounds), Alec Burks (13 points, four assists) and Jeremy Evans (10 points, five rebounds) were bright spots on a lackluster night for a Jazz team just crossing the midway point of a five-game road trip.

Utah shot 37 percent from the floor — and just 16 percent from 3.

The Hawks led by as many as 33 points in the game.

“You can call it youth, finding each other, finding ourselves, but we’ve got to make sure we come out ready to go every night, with every ounce of energy we have,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said after his team had dropped to 7-22 on the year.

Former Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll had four points, five boards, and pestered Hayward on defense and “took us out of our rhythm,” Corbin said. One-time Jazz guard Kyle Korver, meanwhile, extended his NBA record streak of games with a 3-pointer to 96.

For Millsap it was “not just a double-double,” something he once did 19 times in a row for the Jazz, that impressed his old coach. “Hands on balls, the plays that he makes that are not in the stat sheet that helps you win games. He did a lot of those things,” Corbin said.

He did a lot of those things often in seven seasons in Utah.

Even as the team fell short of making the playoffs last season, Millsap said he could not have predicted the Jazz’s decision to press reset in the offseason and rebuild, watching seven free agents walk away from the team.

“Not at all,” he said Friday morning. “I don’t think anybody saw it coming. It’s one of those things that happened. You can’t help but respect the decision from the front office. They have control over that. I didn’t really see it coming.”

The forward said he looks back fondly on his time in Utah, though he called his run with the Jazz “a little disappointing.”

“Anywhere you go you want to win, you want to try to win big,” he said. “I wasn’t able to do that. I felt like I had done all I could do. Had to move on.”

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Hawks 118, Jazz 85

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Jefferson 17:30 3-4 2-2 0-2 3 1 8

MWillims 17:55 2-7 0-0 2-6 0 3 6

Favors 20:35 3-7 0-0 1-8 2 2 6

Burke 20:27 1-8 0-0 1-3 3 3 2

Hayward 29:05 4-14 2-2 1-2 3 0 11

Burks 28:17 6-12 1-2 1-3 4 3 13

Garrett 13:50 0-1 0-0 1-3 2 0 0

Kanter 27:25 5-11 3-5 5-13 1 0 13

Evans 22:41 4-10 2-2 3-5 1 3 10

Rush 16:06 0-4 0-0 1-3 1 0 0

Lucas III 18:45 4-13 0-0 0-0 1 0 8

Harris 7:24 3-3 2-2 1-1 0 2 8

Totals 240:00 35-94 12-15 17-49 21 17 85

Percentages: FG .372, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 3-18, .167 (M.Williams 2-4, Hayward 1-4, Burks 0-1, Garrett 0-1, Jefferson 0-1, Rush 0-1, Burke 0-3, Lucas III 0-3). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 16 (16 PTS). Blocked Shots: 8 (Hayward 3, Kanter 2, Evans, Rush, M.Williams). Turnovers: 15 (Kanter 3, Hayward 2, Rush 2, M.Williams 2, Burke, Burks, Evans, Favors, Garrett, Lucas III). Steals: 6 (Lucas III 3, Burks, Jefferson, Kanter). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

Atlanta Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Carroll 26:17 2-7 0-1 1-5 4 2 4

Millsap 26:50 4-10 6-8 3-10 3 1 14

Horford 22:38 11-15 1-3 1-4 1 2 23

Teague 24:46 3-8 3-3 1-2 8 2 9

Korver 23:32 2-5 0-0 0-3 2 1 6

Brand 19:30 2-2 0-0 1-8 1 4 4

LWillims 23:59 8-13 3-4 0-2 2 1 25

Mack 15:10 3-6 0-0 0-1 2 1 6

Jenkins 17:10 3-8 1-1 2-3 2 1 7

Scott 21:10 3-5 4-4 1-6 3 0 11

Antic 10:54 3-4 0-0 0-2 1 4 7

Schroder 8:04 1-3 0-0 0-0 3 1 2

Totals 240:00 45-86 18-24 10-46 32 20 118

Percentages: FG .523, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 10-26, .385 (L.Williams 6-10, Korver 2-3, Antic 1-2, Scott 1-3, Jenkins 0-1, Mack 0-1, Teague 0-1, Carroll 0-2, Millsap 0-3). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 10 (7 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Brand 5, Carroll, Millsap). Turnovers: 10 (Antic 2, Teague 2, Horford, Jenkins, Korver, Mack, Millsap, Schroder). Steals: 10 (Carroll 4, L.Williams 4, Millsap, Teague). Technical Fouls: None.

Utah 16 18 24 27 — 85

Atlanta 30 25 30 33 — 118

Attendance • 11,150

Time • 1:58.

Officials • Joe Crawford, Scott Wall, Ben Taylor.