SALT LAKE CITY — Mike Bibby, at 31, is an 11-year NBA veteran and the oldest starter on the Atlanta Hawks. Yet he was in junior high the last time the Hawks won a game in Salt Lake City.
Until now, that is.
Atlanta beat the Utah Jazz on the road for the first time since Feb. 13, 1993 — more than 17 years ago — on Monday night, 105-100, at EnergySolutions Arena.
"I was 15. I was a teenager (the last time Atlanta won at Utah)," said Bibby, who was actually 14 at the time. "It was a big win for us."
When Atlanta last won in Utah, it was Dominique Wilkins, aka The Human Highlight Film, pouring in 43 points against Karl Malone, John Stockton and Co. Now the Hawks have a much more well-rounded lineup with five players averaging double figures scoring.
Hawks starters Marvin Williams and Al Horford were just 6 years old the last time the Hawks won in the arena formerly known as the Delta Center.
Atlanta is now 2-16 in the building.
"It feels good to get a win here, it really does," said Horford, a 23- year-old All-Star center who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. "It's a tough place to play and a tough environment. To be able to come out here and to put together a game like this really speaks a lot for our team."
The win was especially sweet for the Hawks after they blew a big fourth quarter lead in Oakland on Sunday night, losing to the lowly Golden State Warriors. Monday's victory over the Jazz salvaged a 2-2 road trip for the team currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference but looking catch the Boston Celtics — and maybe even the Orlando Magic. Atlanta improved to 35-20, leaving them just one-half game behind Boston and two behind Orlando.
"We're trying to fight Boston for that third spot, but we're also trying to creep up on Orlando to try to win the (Southeast) division," said Hawks All-Star guard Joe Johnson, who finished with a game-high 28 points. "Hosting the first two rounds of the playoffs in our building would be great, not only for us but for the city of Atlanta."
Hawks coach Mike Woodson admitted that his team was aided because the Jazz had two starters missing due to injury. But that wasn't about to stop him from being pleased with his team's victory.
"We bounced back (from the loss at Golden State) and played a great team, probably the hottest team in the league," said Woodson. "Sure they were a little short-handed without (Deron) Williams and (Andrei) Kirilenko, but our guys stayed the course and they battled. It was a playoff atmosphere game. They let us bang and bodies were all over the floor. We needed a game like this."
Meanwhile, with the young, talented roster of players the Hawks currently have, chances are they won't have to wait another 17 years before earning another win in Utah.