The Jazz played Atlanta on Monday night in a game matching teams which won twice in their previous 21 games.
Something had to give.
It was Utah.
Kyle Korver scored 26 points and Paul Millsap added 23 to lead the Hawks to a 112-110 victory over the slumping Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
Korver and Millsap combined for 12 points in the final 3:33 against their former team, when Atlanta wiped out a 96-93 deficit and snapped a six-game losing streak.
Rookie Trey Burke led the Jazz were 23 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the final seconds. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Utah from losing for the sixth time in the last seven games.
A lifeless, defenseless first half doomed the Jazz, who trailed by 17 in the second quarter.
“I thought we were a little sluggish in the first half,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “I thought in the second half we came with just as much energy as we didn’t have in the first half.”
Behind the play of Gordon Hayward, the Jazz dominated the third quarter, when they outscored the Hawks, 36-19. They took an 80-78 lead on Hayward’s dunk in the final one second.
What was the difference for Utah?
Corbin rattled off a long list: “Hustle Execution, Being determined to get yo your spots early. Being aggressive on the defensive end.
“We changed our pick-and-roll coverage a little bit and we were a little more aggressive. We were able to get our hands on the basketball. ... I thought we learned our lesson from the first half.”
The Jazz took their biggest lead, 84-80, when Alec Burks made two free throws with 9:56 remaining. Atlanta stayed in the game with an 11-4 run, however, to set up a thrilling finish.
Burke’s three-pointer made it 96-93 lead with 3:48 left and gave the Jazz momentum.
After a time-out, though, Atlanta ran a perfectly executed pick-and-pop to get Korver an open look. He nailed a tying three-pointer.
“Korver got loose a couple of times,” Corbin said. “... It was communication. We didn’t switch out.”
The game’s biggest play came with 1:05 remaining.
The Hawks owned a 101-98 lead when Millsap got the ball at the free-throw line, put it on the floor and drove toward Utah center Derrick Favors.
Millsap went to his left hand and missed, but official Brent Barnaky called a foul, sending Corbin into a spinning dance in front of the Jazz bench.
“They said Derrick bumped him,” Corbin said. “I thought he challenged the shot. I actually thought he tried to get out of the way a little bit. I thought Paul extended his arm a little on the play. But they saw it differently and we have to go with that.”
Favors agreed with his coach.
“I tried to jump past him,” he said. “The only thing [that happened] is he made body contact. But it’s like that sometimes, man.”
Atlanta pushed its lead to 109-100 with 26.6 seconds left before Burke buried two three-pointers in the final five seconds to make the final score close.
“He’s not afraid of the moment,” Corbin said. “He’s used to being the guy who makes big plays down the stretch. ... I thought the two threes he made -- even though they were at the end of the game -- were good. It’s good for him to understand the moment, push the ball down the floor and get a good shot.”
Storylines Hawks 112, Jazz 110
R Kyle Korver scores eight of his 26 points in the final 3:33 to lead Atlanta past the Jazz.
• Atlanta snaps a six-game losing streak. Utah loses for the sixth time in seven games.