Hawks vs. Jazz preview: Utah looks to rebound from back-to-back losses


After both standing pat at the trade deadline amidst heavy rumors, Josh Smith and the Hawks face Paul Millsap and the Jazz on Wednesday.

Going into the trade deadline, no teams got more attention than the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz, and neither one ended up doing much of interest. On Wednesday, the two teams meet up in Salt Lake City for a match-up of second tier contenders.

After the rumors piled up with names like Josh Smith and Paul Millsap, many people were surprised when the trade deadline passed and neither player was on the move. Both players may leave their respective teams this offseason through free agency, but the Hawks and Jazz didn't decide to recoup value before it's too late.

So far, holding onto the big-name veteran has worked out for the Hawks, but not so much for Utah. The Jazz have dropped back-to-back games since the deadline, while Atlanta has won five of six games dating back to the middle of the month.

However, while the Hawks have been winning of late, only one of those wins has been against a good team (Memphis), as SLC Dunk, SB Nation's Jazz blog, writes.

The Jazz are now just a half-game ahead of the Houston Rockets for the No. 7 seed in the West and 3.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot, so dropping a third straight game could really hurt their postseason chances.

Utah forward Marvin Williams, once drafted by Atlanta one selection ahead of Chris Paul, will be making his first-ever appearance against his old team on Wednesday night, Peachtree Hoops, SB Nation's Hawks blog, points out. Traded by the Hawks to the Jazz during the offseason, he missed the team's first match-up this season due to injury.

Wednesday's game begins at 9 p.m. ET.

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