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Hawks drop 10th straight, 21st on the road

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A three-game winning streak didn't sound
like much to the Utah Jazz when they won the first four games of
the season.

But now, winning three games in a row is monumental.

"It's exciting to see that we're able to string something
together," said Raja Bell, who had 17 points in Utah's 96-74 win
over Atlanta on Wednesday night.

"Some people thought we had nothing to play for at this point
and a lot of teams might have come out and not really cared. It's
exciting to see that we do."

Utah hadn't won more than two straight since its 4-0 start. In
the four months since, the Jazz have struggled through inexperience
and injuries and a nasty habit of losing close games at the very
end.

Against the hapless Hawks, there wasn't much of a chance to blow
it. Atlanta, playing the final game of a seven-game road trip, has
lost 10 in a row overall and 21 straight on the road.

Utah never trailed and swept the Hawks for the second straight
season.

"Some nights we really understand it," Bell said. "The last
three nights, the ball moves, we rebound, on defense we help each
other out. Those are the things we can do to win games."

Mehmet Okur scored 19 points and Andrei Kirilenko had 14 points,
six assists and seven rebounds for the Jazz.

Josh Childress led the Hawks with 21 points, and Tom Gugliotta
had 10 points in his third game since joining Atlanta in the deal
that sent Antoine Walker back to Boston.

"One of these days, things are going to click and we're going
to put together a full 48 minutes and get a win. Get two wins,
maybe three," Childress said. "Things just aren't going our way
right now."

The Hawks played without guards Tyronn Lue (suspended) and Royal
Ivey (concussion).

Forward Al Harrington finished with 12 points and seven assists,
getting some time running the offense during the Hawks' guard
shortage.

"We were short-handed tonight. There's no question about
that," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said.

Atlanta is getting closer to the franchise record of 29 straight
road losses, set in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons. The franchise
record for consecutive road losses in a single season of 16, set in
1975-76, was eclipsed weeks ago.

"Tough trip," Woodson said. "We've led in a lot of the games
out on the road, but we just haven't been able to put 48 minutes
together."

The Hawks lost at Denver on Tuesday night in a game that cost
then Lue and Ivey. Lue was suspended for punching Eduardo Najera,
and Ivey was knocked out of the game when he ran into a screen set
by Kenyon Martin.

And the nine remaining Hawks who dressed for Wednesday's game
had no chance of overcoming Utah's shooting. The Jazz went
35-for-68 (51.5 percent) from the floor and never trailed in the
game.

Utah coach Jerry Sloan also got his 937th win, putting him one
behind Red Auerbach for No. 6 on the career list. And Sloan wasn't
celebrating a modest three-game winning streak.

"In the first half we started jacking the ball and not making
extra passes, guys looking for something open for themselves,"
Sloan said. "That's not a way to grow. Just a way to try to tread
water, which we've done a great deal this year."

Atlanta got within eight at 74-66 early in the fourth quarter on
consecutive baskets by Boris Diaw and Gugliotta, but Utah went on a
12-2 run and continued to pull away from there.

Matt Harpring, who was listed as doubtful after spraining his
knee against the Clippers on Monday night, had 11 points and six
rebounds

Josh Smith had 10 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta.

Game notes
The Hawks haven't won on the road since Dec. 10, when they
beat Detroit. ... Gugliotta played in 25 games for the Jazz last
season. ... Utah placed forward Carlos Boozer (foot) on the injured
list Wednesday. ... Gordan Giricek, who was 0-for-5 from the floor,
was the only Utah player who didn't score in the game.