Atlanta • Paul Millsap said it would be "like any other game," before admitting that his anxiety level might start to creep up as tipoff approached.
For seven seasons, the hard-working power forward delighted Jazz fans with his play, climbing from a second-round pick to a capable starter. Friday night, Millsap will take the court against his old team for the first time since signing with the Atlanta Hawks.
Millsap said he could not have predicted the Jazz's decision this offseason to press reset and rebuild.
"Not at all," he said. "I don't think anybody seen 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."
Millsap said he his happy in Atlanta. He said he cherished his time in Utah, though he called his run "disappointing."
"For me it was a little disappointing," he said. "Anywhere you go you want to win, you want to try to win big. I wasn't able to do that. I felt like I had done all I could do. Had to move on."
The Jazz will also see former players Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll when the game tips off at Philips Arena.
Tipoff • 5:30 p.m. MT.
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 97.5 FM, 960 AM, 1280 AM
Utah's probable starters:
PG — Trey Burke, 13.5 ppg, 5.1 apg
SG — Gordon Hayward, 16.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg
SF — Richard Jefferson, 9.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg
PF — Marvin Williams, 9.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
C — Derrick Favors, 13.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Atlanta's probable starters:
PG — Jeff Teague, 16 ppg, 8 apg
SG — Kyle Korver, 13 ppg, 3.9 rpg
SF — DeMarre Carroll, 9.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg
PF — Paul Millsap, 16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg
C — Al Horford, 18 ppg, 8.5 rpg
On the Jazz: 48-43 all-time against the Hawks; 17-19 in Atlanta. … Starting lineup of Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Willams and Derrick Favors is 6-4. … Team is shooting 39.9 percent from 3 in December, good for seventh best in the league.
On the Hawks: Sitting in third place in the East. … Former Jazz sharpshooter Kyle Korver has gone an NBA record 95 straight games with a 3-pointer. … Team is averaging 114.7 points on 55 percent shooting over its last three games. … Leads the league in assists at 25.3 a game.
The spread: Atlanta -7.5, per Bovada.lv.
HOT: Rookie point guard Trey Burke coming off his best game in the season, a win over the Magic in which he scored 30 points, dished eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
NOT: Richard Jefferson has played just 26 minutes in his last two games, combing for six points on 2-of-8 shooting in that stretch.
— Aaron Falk
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