Five Suns players scored in double-figures and the team lit it up from 3-point range to beat the struggling Atlanta Hawks 102-95 in Phoenix on Monday night.
The Suns have won four straight games and are now tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Hawks have now lost their third in a row after coming off a season-high five-game winning streak. Talk about streaky. They are still hanging onto the final playoff spot in the East, but it’s an awfully slim 2.5-game margin over the surging New York Knicks, who are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Eric Bledsoe poured in a game-high 20 points and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals, Goran Dragic scored 19 with six dimes, Channing Frye chipped in with 18 points and seven boards, while backups Markieff Morris (17) and Gerald Green (13) combined for 30 of the team’s 37 total bench points.
Phoenix drained 12 three-pointers in the game, including huge back-to-back 3′s to seal the win. They shot 51.4% from behind the arc overall. Atlanta was limited to just under 42% from the perimeter.
Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll led Atlanta with 19 points each Monday night, while Jeff Teague and Lou Williams dropped 17 apiece. Sharpshooter Kyle Korver missed his third straight game due to back spasms and was replaced in the starting lineup by backup point guard Shelvin Mack, who struggled mightily going 2-of-9 from the field for five points. However, he did lead the team in assists with six.
The game was close in the first half with the Suns leading by two points after the first quarter and the Hawks fighting back in the second to take a three-point edge at halftime, but then Phoenix blew the doors off in the third and outscored Atlanta 35-23, including six straights by Dragic to end the period, taking a nine-point advantage into the final quarter.
The Hawks cut the score to four points two separate times by the 7:09 mark in the fourth, but the Suns continued to throw counter punches to hold the lead and Markieff Morris later delivered the knockout blow with 1:31 remaining by draining a 20-footer to put Phoenix up 12 points, essentially sealing the game. Atlanta made a few pity foul shots down the stretch to give the game a 102-95 final score.
This was the second-and-final meeting of the season between these teams with the Suns sweeping the series 2-0. They won the first meeting at Phoenix 129-120 three weeks ago.
Both teams are in 8th place in their conference, but the Suns are tied with the Mavericks while the Hawks are 2.5 games ahead of the Knicks for the final playoff spot.
Atlanta is on the road Wednesday night at Minnesota but will return home to host the Trail Blazers on Thursday to cap off a back-to-back set.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks