- Associated Press - Friday, November 25, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder wants his team to be great defensively and was looking forward to testing that against one of the best defensive teams in the league.

The Jazz were elite on that end of the floor Friday night.

Gordon Hayward scored 24 points as the Utah Jazz beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-68. The 68 points were the fewest the Jazz have allowed this season and the fewest the Hawks have scored by 24. It was also the second lowest total in the NBA this season.

“We were focused on being disciplined, that was the main thing,” Snyder said.

The Hawks have now lost four of five after starting the season a red-hot 9-2.

Hayward was unstoppable early and started the game making his first six shots. Utah used a 23-2 run early in the fourth quarter to put the game away as George Hill hit a pair 3-pointers and Rudy Gobert converted a three-point play.

Hill finished with 23 and Gobert notched double-double No. 8 with 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

“The defensive end really helped us on the offensive end, too,” Hayward said. “Anytime you can get out to good starts like we’ve done the past couple nights, it gives you a boost of energy. It gets the crowd into it. It makes the game a lot easier.

“When we get easier shots at the rim, cuts and wide-open layups, it gives the team some juice. Gets that energy going. And gives you a bounce down on the other end, too.”

Dennis Schroder scored a team-high 16 for the Hawks (10-6) and Paul Millsap added 11. Atlanta shot just 31.3 percent from the field.

The Jazz (9-8) won the second quarter 24-11 to push its lead to 48-34 at halftime. They used a 20-3 run to build the cushion, highlighted by a behind-the-back dribble, pull-up jumper by Hill followed by a 3-pointer from the veteran.

Atlanta struggled offensively and simply couldn’t get stops for long stretches.

“They are good at protecting the paint and protecting the rim,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “At some point you might want to maybe suck them in and hit some guys for some open shots then you have to make them.

“Whether it is four out of five (losses) or, I think we got beat pretty handily a couple of nights ago, so we need to figure out a way to get out of this quickly.”

Millsap added, “(Gobert) had a part to do with it, but that is probably the worst layup display we’ve had for a while.”

TIP-INS

Hawks: Kyle Korver returned to the lineup after taking last game off to rest. … Dwight Howard was held to four points on 2 for 9 shooting.

Jazz: Boris Diaw made his fifth start of the season at power forward. Trey Lyles had started at the position the last two games. … Utah won the rounding battle 55-40.

THE DEAL

The Jazz traded the No. 12 pick of the 2016 draft to the Hawks in a three-team deal that moved Hill from the Pacers and sent Jeff Teague to Indiana from Atlanta. The Hawks selected Taurean Prince with the pick.

Hill entered the game averaging a team-high 20.6 points and 4.6 assists while the Hawks handed the keys to third-year point guard Schroder, who entered averaging 14.1 points and 5.5 assists.

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we can get better with a point guard,” said Snyder about the trade. “You saw that early this season with what George has been able to do.”

Budenholzer said he’s happy with Schroder, but wants more consistency from the young player.

QUOATABLE

Gobert was asked about Howard saying he played a prank on his mother, telling her he signed with Utah as a free agent instead of the Hawks. Howard said his mom cried at the news.

“I don’t know, maybe she cried because she was happy,” Gobert said with a smirk.

UP NEXT

Hawks: Atlanta travels to face the Lakers on Sunday in game No. 2 of a four-game road trip.

Jazz: Utah travels Monday to play the Timberwolves and their young corps highlighted by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

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