THE FACTS: The Phoenix Suns have given the Atlanta Hawks fits recently, but their road woes continued Friday as the Hawks rolled Phoenix 107-94 Friday night.
Josh Smith buttressed his pending free agency resume with 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot for the Hawks (36-29). The Hawks shot 12-for-23 from distance, whereas the Suns (22-44) were 3-for-19 -- a 27-point differential. Even rarely-used Hawks reserve center Johan Petro got in on the fun. The 7-footer from France hit just the second trey (in 12 tries) in his eight-year career. That came in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Goran Dragic scored 10 of his 21 points in the first quarter, and the Suns led 29-28 early in the second quarter on Jared Dudley's dunk. From there, though, Atlanta gradually seized control of the game -- largely on a long ball differential. Kyle Korver was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, the 58th consecutive game in which the NBA's top sharpshooter has made at least one trey. Korver scored 16.
Smith missed his two 3-point tries, but was 8-for-12 on all other shots, and every Atlanta starter scored in double figures as Al Horford added 16 points, Devin Harris 15, and DeShawn Stevenson 12. In his first start of the season, Phoenix center Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points. Forward Markieff Morris had 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns, however, had 24 turnovers.
The Suns won in Atlanta in each of the past two seasons and sent Atlanta into a talespin with an upset two weeks earlier.
QUOTABLE: "We passed the ball really well . . . we had a lot of fast break points in the first half. That's the way we really want to play. That's when we're at our best. That's when our weapons are being used to their best potential."
-- Kyle Korver
THE STAT: +24 -- Looking deeper into the disparity on 3-point shots, many of them came in transition off Phoenix turnovers. All told, the Hawks outscored the Suns 29-5 in fast break points. The edge was 20-3 in the first half with Harris often pushing the pace. Atlanta had a season-high 14 steals.
TURNING POINT: Atlanta led just 39-37 after O'Neal dunked with 6:50 left in the second quarter. Then, the Hawks made five of their next six shots to push the lead to 52-41 on a Korver jumped with 3:34 remaining. Atlanta closed the half with an 11-point lead at 57-46, and led by no fewer than 12 points for the final 13:35 of the game.
QUOTABLE II: "Our rotations were not good. [The Hawks] have great passers [27 assists], and tonight they found guys open . . . it's tough, but everybody is a professional and we have to play right to the end of the season."
-- Goran Dragic
HOT: Atlanta's Jeff Teague made all four of his free throws, and has now made 20 straight (and 41 of his last 42 for 97.6 percent). He's shooting 89.3 percent for the season. . . . O'Neal shot 7-for-9.
NOT: Marcus Morris had his second straight 2-for-7 game, and had five turnovers while scoring four points and grabbing just two rebounds in 22-plus minutes for the Suns. Kendall Marshall missed all five of his shots off the Phoenix bench, including four 3-pointers. Luis Scola remains second in scoring and rebounding for the Suns (12.3, 6.3), but since Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter moved him to center after Marcin Gortat's injury, Scola has struggled. Friday, he moved to the bench as O'Neal started, and had six points and two rebounds. Over the past four games, he's averaged 6.3 points (without scoring double figures) and 5.8 rebounds.
NOTABLE: Teague, who like Smith missed the Lakers game (with a sprained left ankle), played off the bench Friday as Harris started at the point. He had eight points and four assists in 22-plus minutes, but shot 2-for-10. . . . Korver's 58-game streak with at least one 3-pointer made is the longest in the NBA since Peja Stojakovic made at least one in 62 consecutive games from 1-16-'08 to 12-10-'08.
UP NEXT: For the Suns, Saturday @ Washington, Monday vs. LA Lakers, Wednesday vs. Washington. For the Hawks, Sunday @ Brooklyn, Monday vs. Dallas, Wednesday vs. Milwaukee.