Jazz-Hawks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 25, 2012
A six-game winning streak still hasn't left the Utah Jazz much room for error in the crowded Western Conference. The Atlanta Hawks' win streak is more modest, but their playoff future seems far more certain. Fatigue could play a big role as the Jazz and Hawks both conclude back-to-back-to-back stretches Sunday night at Philips Arena. Utah (26-22) has been among the league's hottest teams, winning seven of eight and six in a row, including a 121-102 victory over Denver on Friday. That surge has moved the Jazz into the thick of the playoff race. They are one of six teams separated by 1 1/2 games fighting for the final five playoff spots. Balanced scoring has been key for Utah, which has had six players score in double figures in four of the wins during the current streak. The Jazz have averaged 105.7 points in that stretch. "There are no super stars on this team so we're going to have to play together night in and night out for us to try and have some success," said Al Jefferson, who scored 23 points one night after finishing with 25 in a win over Sacramento. The Jazz had a season-high 32 assists Friday, with Devin Harris matching a season best with nine and Gordon Hayward adding seven. After losing his spot in the starting lineup earlier this month, Hayward has averaged 14.7 points, 7.3 rebonds and 4.7 assists in his last three starts. Atlanta will be the first stop for Utah on a three-game trip against Eastern Conference teams, two coming against playoff contenders. The Jazz are 7-16 on the road this season even with wins in their last two away from home. "It's clicking, but we've still got a ways to go," Jefferson said. "We're not where we need to be. We've still got to continue to work hard because there's 18, 19 games left and a lot can happen." Utah will look to win seven in a row for the first time since Nov. 20-Dec. 1, 2010, when it faces an Atlanta (29-20) team that has won three in a row and five of six. The Hawks escaped with a 95-92 win at Washington on Sunday when John Wall missed a potential tying 3-pointer right before the buzzer. Joe Johnson scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Atlanta rally from a 16-point deficit. Josh Smith scored 18 of his 20 points in the first three quarters and had nine rebounds. After allowing Washington to shoot 51.1 percent in the first half, the Hawks held the Wizards to 29.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Johnson and Smith were on the bench at the start of the period, but came back in to spark the rally. "I know some guys were tired, some guys were a little banged up, and we were basically playing catch-up the whole game, and in that fourth quarter we were able to get over the hump," coach Larry Drew said. "We don't panic, and that's a sure sign of a veteran team." It was the second straight game the Hawks, who are tied with Indiana for the fifth seed in the East, were behind late against an opponent with a losing record. They trailed by seven at the end of the third quarter Friday before defeating New Jersey 93-84. Atlanta has won four of five against Utah after losing 11 of the previous 12 meetings.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker