Hawks-Jazz Preview

The Atlanta Hawks appear to have put their recent struggles behind. The Utah Jazz hope they've finally gotten past theirs.

As the Hawks aim to maintain their quality play on their road trip, the Jazz attempt to build on a much-needed win in Tuesday night's return home.

The Hawks' playoff prospects looked to be on shaky ground following three consecutive home defeats out of the All-Star break, but they're on more solid footing after recording four wins in their last five. The surge has moved Atlanta (35-28) to fifth in the Eastern Conference and two games back of first-place Miami in the Southeast Division.

While they've statistically been the NBA's best defensive team since mid-January, the Hawks have shown increased efficiency on the offensive end of late. They've shot 48.4 percent overall and 41.0 percent from 3-point range over their last four, highlighted by a 13-of-28 effort from beyond the arc in Friday's 106-77 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Atlanta displayed some resiliency as well the next night, outscoring the Los Angeles Clippers 25-9 over the final eight minutes to rally for a 107-97 win.

"To beat a team that is playing as well as they have been, I think this was good for our group," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We needed a good, quality win, especially on the road. To finish it on a run and execute down the stretch and get stops down the stretch, it's a huge key in our league."

The game also saw bounce-back performances from Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, both of whom had been slumping. Millsap grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds along with 20 points and Teague added 22 points while helping limit Chris Paul to two in the second half.

''I thought Jeff was great at both ends,'' Budenholzer said. ''He set the tone with his aggressiveness on Chris Paul on the pick-and-rolls.''

The Hawks have yielded league lows of 96.7 points per game and a 41.6 percent field goal rate since Jan. 16. They've eclipsed those numbers during their 4-1 stretch, holding opponents to 89.4 points and a 37.4 percent shooting.

That presents a challenge for Utah (29-33), which averaged a mere 90.2 points during a season-high five-game skid from Feb. 25-March 4 that dropped it to ninth in the West. The Jazz were much better in Saturday's finale of a four-game trip, shooting 47.4 percent while dominating the glass in a crucial 106-94 victory over depleted New Orleans.

''It was a game we definitely needed,'' said forward Derrick Favors, who compiled 28 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to complement Gordon Hayward's 24 points.

Rudy Gobert added 18 rebounds to help Utah, 1 1/2 games behind eighth-place Houston, finish with a 53-32 advantage on the boards. The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 15.0 over his last five.

Favors also was a factor in the Jazz's 97-96 win at Atlanta on Nov. 15, totaling 23 points and nine rebounds to counter Millsap's 28 points and enable Utah to halt an eight-game series losing streak. The Jazz last swept Atlanta in 2006-07.

Teague missed that game with a sore left ankle. The point guard was instrumental to the Hawks' two 2014-15 wins over Utah, averaging 23.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals.

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