Atlanta (10-27) at Utah (18-17)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Salt Lake City, UT
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Jan 10, 2004
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The return of coach Jerry Sloan should help the struggling Utah Jazz get back on track. A visit from the hapless Atlanta Hawks may provide even more of a boost.

Sloan is expected back from a visit with his ailing wife as the Jazz try to stay above .500 when they welcome the Hawks to the Delta Center.

Sloan, who has been back and forth with the team while his wife, Bobbye, undergoes treatment for pancreatic cancer, was not with the Jazz during Friday’s 106-96 loss in Denver.

Utah, which has lost three of its last four games, came out sluggish and never recovered from a 26 percent shooting performance in the first half.

“We came out and walked around offensively and didn’t help each other defensively in the first half,” Utah assistant coach Phil Johnson said. “It was like a bunch of deer in the headlights. It was ridiculous.”

The Jazz were also without leading scorer Matt Harpring for a third straight game due to a sore knee. Greg Ostertag did his best to spark Utah, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, but also ripped into some of his teammates on the bench for what he perceived as a lack of intensity.

“I was just trying to light a fire in everybody, and it started with me,” Ostertag said. “I should have done what I did, but gone about it in a different way.”

The Hawks are 1-3 on their five-game road trip, including Friday’s embarrassing 113-67 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Atlanta was outscored 34-7 in the first quarter and did not pose a serious challenge thereafter, slipping to 5-17 on the road.

Stephen Jackson led the Hawks with 13 points, but committed five of the Hawks’ 19 turnovers. Jason Terry managed just six points on 3-of-10 shooting, misfiring on all three of his attempts from 3-point range as Atlanta went 1-of-8 from behind the arc.

The Hawks have been outscored by a combined 62 points in their last two games, including a 105-89 setback at Sacramento on Tuesday.

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