Jazz visit former coach Quin Snyder, hobbled Hawks

The Utah Jazz will see a familiar face on the sideline when they visit Atlanta to play the Hawks on Tuesday night.

This matchup marks the first time the Jazz take on their former coach, Quin Snyder, since he was hired by Atlanta one year ago after the Hawks’ midseason dismissal of then-head coach Nate McMillan.

Snyder was the Jazz’s head coach from 2014-22, leading the team to a 372-264 record and six playoff appearances in eight years.

Utah had the third-highest winning percentage in the NBA over his final six seasons as head coach when they went 294-178 (.623) with the combination of Snyder, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

He was replaced in Utah by Will Hardy after stepping down while still under contract following the 2021-22 season. Snyder then was quickly snatched up by the Hawks on Feb. 26, 2023, on a five-year contract.

Snyder compiled the second-most wins as a Jazz coach behind only late Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.

As Atlanta’s coach this season, Snyder has coached the Hawks to a 25-32 record, which is 10th in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks enter this game after beating the Orlando Magic 109-92 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak. Dejounte Murray compensated for Trae Young’s absence by amassing 25 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

Young, an All-Star averaging 26.4 points and 10.8 assists, is expected to undergo surgery on his left hand on Tuesday. He’ll miss at least four weeks.

“We don’t have any excuses. This is the NBA,” Murray said. “Obviously, we want him to get back as soon as he can. But while he’s out, next man up. That’s it. There’s opportunities for guys to show why they are in the NBA.”

Snyder liked that his team held the Magic to the fewest points the Hawks have allowed this season.

“We want to focus on things we can control, and (defensive) communication is a big part of that,” Snyder said. “It was good to see. We weren’t perfect, but there was definitely focus on the defensive end.”

That’s a familiar refrain from his time with the Jazz days when Snyder’s teams were consistently among the better defensive teams.

Though the Jazz have struggled defensively this season as they continue to rebuild after the departures of Snyder, Mitchell and Gobert, they were improved on Sunday.

Lauri Markkanen scored 26 points, Jordan Clarkson had 22 points and 10 assists, John Collins chipped in with 20 points and Collin Sexton added 16 points and 10 assists to help Utah beat the San Antonio Spurs 128-109 to end a five-game skid.

The Jazz allowed a season-low 18 points to the Spurs in the first quarter and scored 34 points off 20 San Antonio turnovers.

“We showed our hands and we kind of got in passing lanes, so that’s what we got to do every game,” Markkanen said.

“Just fly around. Not just running, but really trying to make the passes tough for them. We got some guys on this team with long wingspans and we try to use that to our advantage.”