ATLANTA (AP)—Completing a stretch that called for four road games in five days, Utah’s players might have been tempted to give in to fatigue Saturday night.
Coach Jerry Sloan wasn’t offering a sympathetic ear to any of that talk.
“That shouldn’t bother them. Some people have to work five days a week,” Sloan said after the Jazz pulled away to a 92-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Jazz made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 4:18 to fend off a comeback attempt by Atlanta. The Hawks twice pulled within five points in the fourth quarter but got no closer.
Overall, the Jazz made 17 of 21 free throws. The Hawks struggled from the line and converted only 10 of 22.
“We have to make those,” Atlanta’s Al Harrington said. “Maybe we all need to stay and shoot some more, but that kind of stuff will work itself out.”
Entering the game, the Hawks were next to last in the league in free-throw percentage (64.8).
“The guys make them in practice,” coach Mike Woodson said. “They’ve got to learn how to make them in the game.”
Andrei Kirilenko blocked seven shots and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Jazz, who held a 46-37 advantage on the boards.
Kirilenko, who scored 11 points, also had seven assists, leaving him three blocks and three assists shy of a quadruple-double. He leads the NBA with 4.67 blocks a game.
“I don’t know during the game the stats I’ve got,” Kirilenko said. “More important for me is we won the game.”
Atlanta’s Antoine Walker called Kirilenko, a third-year player from Russia, “tough, one of the best in the league.”
Guarded by Kirilenko most of the game, Harrington made only eight of 21 shots but led Atlanta with 17 points.
“He’s always lurking,” Harrington said. “He’s a great defensive player.”
Rookie Josh Childress scored a season-high 16 points for Atlanta, while Walker—who made only four of nine free throws—added 15.
Though the Hawks hadn’t played since Wednesday, Utah’s players looked fresher in the second half.
After Jason Collier scored the first four points of the second half to give Atlanta a 50-49 lead, Utah scored 15 of the next 21 points—three times beating the Hawks on fast-break baskets.
A jumper by Howard Eisley gave the Jazz a 73-63 lead early in the fourth quarter for the first double-figures advantage of the game.
Utah stretched the lead to 13 points on back-to-back baskets by Boozer, but Atlanta scored eight straight points to get to 77-72 following a timeout with 7:38 left.
Childress scored 12 second-quarter points, matching his high for a game. Okur had 11 points in the final 6:43 of the period as Utah took a 49-46 halftime lead.
G Tony Delk made his season debut for Atlanta, scoring two points in 15 minutes. He missed the first eight games after having offseason surgery on his right knee. … Utah F Matt Harpring was held out for the second straight game because of a bruised left knee. He is day-to-day. … Okur was cheered on by a group of about 500 fans waving the flag of his native Turkey.