Jalen Johnson has 22 points as Hawks never trail in runaway 124-97 win over Jazz


ATLANTA (AP) — Jalen Johnson had 22 points with 13 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks never trailed after scoring the first 12 points and beat the Utah Jazz 124-97 on Tuesday night.

The Hawks have won two straight games after losing All-Star point guard Trae Young for at least four weeks with a torn ligament in his left pinky finger. Dejounte Murray, who has taken over primary ball-handling duties, scored 17 points with 11 assists.

The Hawks, who also have center Onyeka Okongwu for an indefinite period with a sprained left toe. Despite the roster limitations, Atlanta has held back-to-back opponents under 100 points for the first time this season.

“I think our communication has been better than it has been,” Johnson said, adding success has come with “executing defensively and sticking to the game plan.”

De’Andre Hunter scored 20 points Bogdan Bogdanovic had 19 in Atlanta's balanced attack.

Collin Sexton led Utah with 22 points. Walker Kessler added 14 points with 12 rebounds. Utah has lost six of its last seven.

John Collins scored only five points with 10 rebounds in his first appearance in Atlanta since being traded to the Jazz on June 26, 2023.

The Hawks are 10th in the Eastern Conference and hold the last spot in the play-in tournament. Utah is 11th in the Western Conference.

Utah's turnover woes helped Atlanta start strong. Atlanta scored 10 points off six Utah turnovers while taking an early 15-4 lead.

“The turnovers, at some point we have to take some individual responsibility of just being sloppy with the ball,” said Utah coach Will Hardy. “... When you compound that with a night you don't shoot the ball well, the game was ugly.”

The Hawks won in coach Quin Snyder's first game against Utah since coaching the Jazz from 2014-22. “There are so many ways that time impacted me and my family,” Snyder said before the game. “It was great years.”

Collins played his first six seasons with Atlanta. He was emotional, wiping tears from his eyes, when hugging former teammates and Hawks staff members on the court during pregame warmups. He tapped his chest and waved to the fans following an enthusiastic response from the fans to a video tribute to the forward during the game's first timeout.

Collins made only two of eight shots from the field and missed each of his three 3-pointers.

Johnson posted his fourth consecutive double-double and his 17th of his breakout season while starting in the forward spot formerly manned by Collins. In his third season, Johnson is averaging 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Young reported on social media he “made it through” surgery on the finger in New York. The Hawks said Sunday Young will miss at least four weeks before his status is updated. Young posted Tuesday: “Don't worry. I'll be ready when the time is right!”