The Utah Jazz may have the Western Conference's worst record, but they have a winning mark with Marvin Williams in the starting lineup.
Williams makes his return to Atlanta on Friday night as the Jazz try to end a run of four straight losses to the Hawks.
This contest figures to be a special one for four players - Williams and Atlanta native Derrick Favors for Utah and Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll for the Hawks.
Williams was drafted second overall by Atlanta (14-12) in 2005 and spent his first seven seasons with the club, helping it advance to the second round of the playoffs three times. However, he failed to develop into a star, never averaging more than 14.8 points.
The forward was traded to Utah (7-21) on July 11, 2012. He missed last season's visit to Atlanta due to right knee inflammation.
Devin Harris was sent to the Hawks in the trade for Williams. The Jazz acquired Favors and Harris from the Nets on Feb. 23, 2011.
Favors seems to finally be coming into his own in his fourth season after being picked third overall by the Nets, averaging a career-high 13.7 points. He'll look to fare better than he has in three previous visits to his hometown in which he totaled 18 points off the bench.
Favors is starting now along with Williams. The Jazz are 6-4 with Williams in the starting lineup.
Millsap was signed by the Hawks as a free agent in July after he spent seven seasons with the Jazz, who drafted him in the second round in 2006. Carroll also joined Atlanta in the summer after he played 86 games for Utah over two seasons.
Amidst these reunions, an intriguing point guard matchup between Utah rookie Trey Burke and Atlanta's Jeff Teague could provide the key to victory.
Burke scored a season-high 30 points in Wednesday's 86-82 victory at Orlando, while Teague has 35 points and 25 assists in consecutive wins for Atlanta.
Teague matched a career high with 15 assists Wednesday and former Jazz forward Kyle Korver tied a career best with eight 3-pointers en route to a season-high 28 points in a 124-107 win over Sacramento.
Atlanta shot 58.0 percent and finished with 38 assists, its highest total since it had 39 in a 136-104 home victory over Philadelphia on April 19, 1997.
'That's the product of a lot of things,' said Korver, who has made 19 3-pointers over the last four games. 'It's unselfishness, it's good spacing, it's a lot of guys in rhythm, it's everyone being dangerous and no one's really sure where the help is going to come from (on defense). When Jeff is attacking like that and really going to the basket, it really creates a lot of openings for us.'
Korver's NBA-record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer is up to 95.
Favors will match up at center against Al Horford, averaging 23.8 points on 63.2 percent shooting in the last four games.
Burke missed the first 12 games with a broken finger, and he feels like the young Jazz are improving.
"We have a lot of options,' Burke said. 'Pretty much everybody out there can put the ball in the basket, and once we're playing together, that's when we're best with it.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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