ATLANTA (AP)—Deron Williams knew the Jazz wouldn’t go unbeaten through the end of the regular season.
Even so, Utah’s star point guard wished his team had given itself a better chance against the Hawks to extend its winning streak to 13 games.
“We got a little complacent at the end of the game,” Williams said. “We had stretches where we played well and where we played bad throughout the game. They got a lot of transition baskets at the end of the game, and that got the crowd into it.”
After Mehmet Okur’s 20-footer gave Utah an 87-85 lead with 5:02 remaining, the Jazz failed to score a field goal.
“No, we didn’t run out of gas,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We didn’t come with gas early. Nobody cares what you did last night; you just come and play hard.”
The Hawks, who ended Cleveland’s 11-game winning streak on Dec. 13, led until Okur’s straightaway 3-pointer put Utah up 62-60 at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter. Atlanta has won three straight.
“This shows everybody in the world the Hawks are for real,” Smith said. “They have to take the Hawks seriously. Utah is an outstanding team. We played the best in the West and were able to beat them.”
Flip Murray scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Hawks. Smith ended the scoring with a pair of free throws with 24.3 seconds remaining.
“We were being real aggressive,” Murray said. “We were trying to get to the rim and draw the foul.”
Williams, who was instrumental in holding Mike Bibby to two points on a 1-for-6 performance from the field, led the Jazz with 20 points and nine assists.
But Williams’ errant pass with the Jazz trailing by two ended with Murray’s fast-break dunk with 4:26 remaining. Williams also was dismayed when Smith dunked over Kyle Korver to give the Hawks an 83-82 lead about 3:30 earlier.
“(Those plays) took the wind out of us at the end of the game, and we weren’t able to regain our composure after that,” he said. “I think we drove hard in the second half, but things just didn’t go our way.”
Paul Millsap had 16 points and nine rebounds for Utah.
With a 12-point victory at the Pacers on Tuesday, the Jazz had their longest winning streak since 1996-97. They also had taken 12 straight and 18 of 21 games from Atlanta.
“We’ll see what kind of character we’ve got,” Boozer said. “If we’re an elite team, we’ll bounce right back. We won’t just sulk. They took it right to us from the tip. We fought back. Then the whole fourth quarter was a great game, a great battle.”
Johnson, who finished with 30 points as Atlanta snapped New Orleans’ seven-game winning streak on Monday night, had 21 in the first half. His reverse layup with 4:56 in the second quarter Wednesday gave the Hawks their first 10-point lead.
The Hawks were outscored 33-18 in the third quarter, going just 5-for-18 from the field, but Sloan took no satisfaction with watching his team only play well for stretches.
“When you dig a hole like that, it makes it tough to fight out of it,” Sloan said. “This was a good team that we played, and we had a chance to come out and win the game. We just didn’t come with enough to start the game.”
With two off days in South Florida before Utah’s next game against Miami, Sloan isn’t concerned that his team will get complacent.
“I don’t worry about it,” Sloan said. “I don’t follow them around. I hope we have good enough character on this team that they’ll make good decisions that represent themselves and their family well. That’s all we ask.”
Atlanta F Marvin Williams, who missed his second straight game with lower back pain, spent the day traveling to see a back specialist in Durham, N.C. Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said before the game that the team wouldn’t know the status of Williams, a starter who averages 14 points, until Thursday. … The Jazz had won four straight on the road. … Utah’s combined record for February and March is now 15-2.