In their last meeting on January 23, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Atlanta Hawks 98-95 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. After losing their previous two games to the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, achieving a win for the Hawks on Tuesday night was vital in order to preserve their third seed playoff position.
Phoenix Thrives In First Half
The game began with the Hawks struggling defensively against the Suns early on, until Atlanta’s Jeff Teague enabled them to take the lead. Minutes into the first quarter the Hawks took an 18-9 lead. Phoenix tied the game at 20 after consecutive three pointers and missed opportunities by Atlanta. Towards the end of the period, it was apparent that the Suns came to put up a fight as they took the lead and maintained it. The first quarter ended with Phoenix on top 38-28.
The Suns continued to put up threes early into the second quarter. The Hawks tried to respond to the Suns’ scoring, but continued to trail, at times by as much 12 points throughout the period. Phoenix dominated the entire first half, going into halftime leading Atlanta 56-44.
After eight shots in a row and a three pointer by Kent Bazemore minutes into the third, the Hawks managed to reduce the point deficit to just two points as they trailed the Suns 62-60. For the majority of the quarter, the Suns maintained the lead while the Hawks trailed closely behind. The Hawks were able to tie the game at 66 with a little over three minutes left in the period, but shots by Alex Len and Devin Booker allowed the Suns to take the lead again. Phoenix maintained their lead to end the third quarter 73-70.
Atlanta Makes A Comeback
Increased effort was apparent by both teams as the fourth period began. A three point jump shot by Al Horford gave the Hawks the lead, followed by a steal and a running layup by Dennis Schroder to further the Hawks’ lead 77-73. Halfway through the quarter, the Hawks had increased their lead by ten. As the clock continued to run, Atlanta continued to put up points, leading the game 93-79 with under five minutes left in the game. The Hawks accomplished a 28-point turnaround since the first quarter, taking control of the game. In the end, the Hawks came out with the win, overcoming the Suns 103-90.
Overall, the Hawks shot 41% compared to the Suns’ 37%. Additionally, Phoenix totaled 24 turnovers in the game, which Atlanta scored an additional 30 points from. Game leaders for the Suns included Devin Booker with 34 points, Ronnie Price with four assists and four steals, Archie Goodwin with two blocks, and Tyson Chandler with 13 rebounds. For the Hawks, Jeff Teague led the scoring with 20 points. Paul Millsap had 17 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. Kent Bazemore totaled five steals. Horford came alive in the second half with his 204th career double double, totaling 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Next up, Thursday, April 7th, the Suns take on the Houston Rockets, while the Toronto Raptors visit the Hawks at Philips Arena.