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Harris heats up in fourth as Hawks top Jazz

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew meant to limit Devin Harris' minutes in the guard's first start since Dec. 18.

Harris was having none of it. So what if he'd missed 10 games with a bruised left foot?

After 12 points through three quarters, he caught fire in the fourth quarter, finishing with a season high 24 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 103-95 win over the Utah Jazz Friday night at Philips Arena.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Hawks (21-14).

"This was a real gutsy performance by our guys," said Hawks coach Larry Drew , who'd called his team "soft" twice in the last week. "The game was clearly about our defense. It's what I've been preaching from the very beginning, being active, having active hands and just trying to cause havoc."

The Jazz (19-19) led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, and the impact of having squandered that was clear on coach Ty Corbin's stone face.

"We thought the game was over," he said. "Lot of time left in the game. Get up 15, you can't stop doing what you're doing.

"You have to play 48 minutes. We took too many chances, made too many wrong plays and it cost us the ball game."

The Hawks' second unit brought Atlanta back to within two points -- 82-80 -- with 7:18 remaining in the game before Jamaal Tinsley made his first basket of the game to start building that lead back.

With the Hawks' starters playing sluggishly, it was up to the bench to shake things up. Lou Williams scored 11 points and Ivan Johnson added 13 points and seven rebounds. Josh Smith finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"It was just a matter of playing with some energy," Williams said. "We called a time out and we had to make mention of our body language, on how guys were carrying themselves."

The Hawks hung in there, tying the game again at 85-85 two minutes later. And again at 92-92 at 3:15. Al Horford gave the Hawks a 94-92 lead with 2:30 left.

The Jazz used its size and physicality and 25 points from Randy Foye to stay ahead of the Hawks for most of the game. Paul Millsap had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Al Jefferson 23 points and 10 rebounds.

But it wasn't enough for the Jazz to win consecutive road games for the first time this season. Utah beat the host Charlotte Bobcats 112-102 on Wednesday.

Jefferson, slumped in his chair, hands over his face, said, "We had them down, we should have just buried them then. I think we got away from what we had been doing. We turned the ball over too much. We got away from our defense.

"This type of game you've got to win. We had them against the ropes."

Notes: Drew started Harris, hoping to "bring a little normalcy" -- meaning speed -- to the lineup. Harris was scoreless in 12 minutes in Wednesday's 99-83 loss to the host Cleveland Cavaliers, his first action after missing 10 games with a sore left foot. Drew said he'd keep an eye on Harris' minutes, but Harris said before the game, "As far as I'm concerned, I'm ready to roll." ... Corbin, who played four seasons for the Hawks, wants his team to put together a five-or six-game winning streak in 2013. The Jazz was looking to win consecutive road games for the first time this season after Wednesday's win. ... Former Hawk Marvin Williams, who was traded for Harris in the offseason, traveled with the team but was not able to play because of an inflamed right knee. But he was happy to sleep in his own bed Thursday night and hang out with his mom on Friday.
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