Tonight’s blowout between the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz showcased two teams on two very different paths. Atlanta looks like a team poised to make a run for the No. 3 seed in the NBA Playoffs. On the other hand, Utah clearly must be tanking it this season in order to grab one of the coveted freshmen because tonight the offense was awful. This game was basically over at the end of the first quarter. The Jazz only managed to score 16 points in the first while the Hawks came out on fire putting up 30 points and never looking back. Tonight, Atlanta was clearly the better team on both ends of the floor.
The Hawks’ defense gave their best performance of the season in the win over the Jazz. Atlanta’s starters were so good defensively that only one player in the starting lineup, Gordon Hayward, managed to score double digit points for the Jazz. Utah may be one of the worst in the league, but any time a team manages to only allow one starter to score double digit points it’s remarkable.
Trey Burke in his most recent performance had a career-high 30 points, but tonight Jeff Teague dominated the rookie out of Michigan. Teague held Burke in check all night on defense holding the youngster to only two points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field. The lock down defense of Teague really helped to set the pace for the Hawks on the defensive end.
On the offensive end, Al Horford came out on fire for the Hawks. He scored eight of the first ten points which helped Atlanta establish a pace and rhythm on offense early in the game. Horford finished with 23 points by going 11-for-15 from the field in a dominant performance. Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors tried their best to contain the Hawks’ star in the paint, but they could not handle the physicality of the former NBA All-Star. If Horford continues to play at this high of a level he deserves a spot on the NBA All-Star team for the Eastern Conference.
The biggest surprise performance of the night came from Lou Williams. He notched an impressive 25 points by going 8-for-13 from the field and 6-for-10 from the behind the three-point line. Williams seems to be returning to his old form which could not come at a better time for the Hawks. After tonight’s win, Atlanta moves to 15-12 on the season and looks like a team ready to take the three seed in the East.