Johnson, Hawks put a stop to Jazz's winning streakMar 12, 2009 - 2:42 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- It was nice while it lasted.
The Utah Jazz's 12-game winning streak finally came to an end on Wednesday night, as the Atlanta Hawks stole the fourth-quarter momentum en route to a 100-93 victory.
The Jazz hadn't lost since February 8 at Golden State, putting together their fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history. And for a while there, it looked like it might live to see another day.
"Our defense was pretty good tonight, especially in the fourth quarter," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Utah's one of the better teams in the West and the league. They're 10 deep, they play hard every night and they execute the offense."
Utah overcame a messy first half with a dominant third quarter, staging a 10-2 run to cut its deficit from 13 to just five. A bit later in the period, Mehmet Okur found C.J. Miles - who missed his first six shots of the night - buried a 3-pointer to slice the lead in half and added a three of his own moments later to put the Jazz on top by one.
"When you dig a hole like that, it makes it tough to fight out of it," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "This was a good team we played, and we had a chance to come out and win the game, but we just didn't come with enough energy to start the game."
Deron Williams knocked down three buckets in a row and the Jazz took a two-point lead into the final frame, but the Hawks wouldn't go away. Facing a two-point deficit with just under five minutes left to play, Joe Johnson, Flip Murray and Al Horford answered with consecutive hoops under the basket to push Atlanta back in front.
"Even though we were down early, we were able to get back in this game and fight, and were even able to take a brief lead," Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer said.
The closest the Jazz got from then on was two points. The sluggish, out-of-sync offense that had characterized much of the first half came creeping back in the game's waning minutes. Andrei Kirilenko's errant pass was picked off by Horford with 1:47 on the clock and Carlos Boozer was whistled for an offensive foul one possession later.
"They got a lot of easy transition baskets at the end of the game, and got the crowd into it," Williams said. "I think we drove hard in the second half, but things just didn't go our way."
With 30 seconds remaining and the Hawks holding on to a five-point edge, the Jazz won a jump ball, but Kirilenko rushed an ugly, shapeless shot that flew two feet under the bottom of the basket and out of bounds.
"We got a little complacent at the end of the game," Williams said. "We had stretches where we played well and where we played bad throughout the game."
Johnson carried the way with 31 points and nine assists as the Hawks put an end to yet another winning streak. Just two nights prior, they stopped the New Orleans' Hornets' seven-game stretch and ended the Detroit Pistons' four-game streak on March 7.
"We're just trying to be aggressive from the start and make plays. We've got to get every win we can at home," Johnson said. "It's just a focus and determination and having the will and finding out a way every night to pull out a win."
Williams carried the Jazz with 20 points and nine assists while Okur added 14 and 10 rebounds.
ATLANTA 100 FINAL
Mar 11 9:26 PM
ATLANTA 73 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 11 8:50 PM
ATLANTA 55 HALFTIME
Mar 11 8:07 PM
ATLANTA 25 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 11 7:35 PM
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