Atlanta At Utah
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Friday, November 25, 2016
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
George Hill rates as a vitally important player for a Utah Jazz squad that endured mediocre point guard play all last season. Hill returned from an eight-game absence to help Utah break a four-game skid earlier this week and looks for another strong game when the Jazz host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
Hill was sidelined with a sprained right thumb and Utah's level of play dropped substantially, but it was back on the upswing Wednesday, when Hill scored 22 points in a 108-83 rout of the Denver Nuggets. "It's the mindset. We've got to come in night-in, night-out with the will to win, doing whatever it takes to win that game," Hill said afterward. "That's the only thing that matters. Doesn't matter about self stats or what's going on in your life, when we step on this court we have to win basketball games." Atlanta opened a five-game road trip on Wednesday with a 96-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers in a dominating physical effort that halted a three-game slide. Center Dwight Howard produced season highs of 23 points and 20 rebounds as Atlanta held a 56-37 rebounding edge and turned 17 offensive boards into 19 second-chance points.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), ROOT (Utah)
ABOUT THE HAWKS (10-5): Howard is off to a stellar start with Atlanta and posted 11 double-doubles while averaging 14.8 points and 13.3 rebounds. The 30-year-old was unhappy in Houston last season in his third campaign with the Rockets and is playing with a higher intensity level with the Hawks. "The effort and energy started with me and I have to make sure that every night I bring the same effort and energy," Howard said after the win over the Pacers. "When I'm able to get in there and crash the boards, just get a feel for the game, it makes everything easier."
ABOUT THE JAZZ (8-8): Utah missed badly when it selected Trey Burke in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft and felt it had landed a point guard for the next decade. The Jazz dealt Burke to the Washington Wizards in the offseason and acquired Hill from the Indiana Pacers as they coveted a steady player who could bring poise and stability to the position. "Some of the conversation that we had, I'd like to think framed what the fit would be and I think that's something he was truly excited about," Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters. "When you have that fit, it generally has a way of accelerating a player's comfort level."
1. The Hawks won nine of the past 10 meetings.
2. Atlanta PF Paul Millsap - a former star with the Jazz - contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds versus the Pacers for his fifth double-double of the season.
3. Utah PF Derrick Favors (knee) is expected to miss his fifth straight game.
PREDICTION: Hawks 102, Jazz 98
Stats and Records
Utah Off vs
96.8 Points For
98.7 Points Against