Quin Snyder name-drops Suns duo, keys on 'most important' takeaway after Hawks' loss

Quin Snyder tipped his cap to his team and name-dropped key contributors from the Atlanta Hawks' loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks (30-39) have lost five of their last six outings, their latest a 128-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Hawks had a lead, jumping on the Suns for a 14-point lead in the first quarter and ending it with a 37-30 lead.

From there, though, the Suns outscored them 98-78 thanks in no small part to some timely contributions from their bench.

Hawks head coach commended his team’s effort and the Suns’ role players.

“I think really we competed the whole game, which is the most important thing,” Snyder told reporters after the game. “I thought you during that stretch too – Eric Gordon and Royce [O’Neale] – they what, they shot over 50% from three as a team, which is tough to handle against a team that is so good for mid-range as well.”

Gordon and O’Neale, who played for the Utah Jazz under Snyder, combined for 35 points and went 8-for-12 from beyond the arc for the Suns, who shot 53.7% from deep as a team.

O’Neale was 4-for-4 from the floor and 3-for-3 from deep with 11 points in the second quarter.

The shorthanded Hawks were plus-10 in pain points, plus-20 in second-chance points, and plus-six in transition for the game. But they were just 7-for-26 from long distance after going 5-for-9 in the first quarter. 

“When you add those two things up it's tough, Snyder said. “But I thought some of those buckets hurt. And when you're taking the ball out of the net too, it's harder for us to get a rhythm offensively. I think the first quarter, we were getting some stops, turning them over, and got some stuff in transition. And we almost had something similar happen in the second half.”

The Hawks retook the lead midway through the third quarter. But they were unable to sustain their momentum.

Hawks announce notable updates for injured trio

The Hawks announced third-year forward Jalen Johnson would be sidelined for at least the next week after aggravating an ankle injury that cost him time not long ago.

But he was not the only injured Hawk to get an update.

“Kobe Bufkin was re-evaluated on Tuesday at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex. He is making progress in his rehabilitation from a left toe sprain. He will be re-evaluated again in 7-10 days and his status will be updated as appropriate,” the Hawks said in a statement released on X, formerly Twitter, on March 21.

“AJ Griffin underwent an MRI at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex on Wednesday, which confirmed a right high ankle sprain. He will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days and his status will be updated as appropriate.”

Johnson’s absence is the most pressing. But Bufkin’s is a closer second than initially meets the eye in Young’s absence.

Griffin’s season has been a disappointment after his sustained flashes last season.

Neither Bufkin nor Griffin figures to have a significant role in the postseason, as rotations typically shorten rather than expand. But with 13 games left in the season, and a spot in the Play-In Tournament still in their control, getting Young and Johnson back healthy is key.