Suns News

Top 5 Notes: Suns-Hawks

Nash was 7-of-14 from the field Wednesday.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Feb. 15, 2012

Here are the Top 5 Notes from the Suns' 101-99 defeat to the Hawks on Wednesday. Steve Nash led five Suns in double figures with 22 points and 16 assists, while Channing Frye added 13 points and 11 rebounds. It was the first loss to the Hawks at home in five tries.

1. Dynamic Duo
When the tandem of Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash touch the ball, there’s a high percentage that good things will happen. Gortat is fourth the NBA is field goal percentage at 55.6 percent, while Nash ranks third in the NBA at 56.2 percent shooting.

However, the duo’s proficiency hasn’t translated to the team as a whole like one would think, with the team knocking down only 44.3 percent of its shots. That is only good for 13th in the league.

2. 15-15 Club
Nash became the first player in the league this season to tally multiple outings of at least 15 points and 15 assists in one game when he collected 22 points and 16 assists against the Hawks on Wednesday. Nash also currently leads the league in points/assists double-doubles.

3. Key Stat of the Night
Atlanta came into the game the sixth-most proficient three-point shooting team in the league Wednesday, shooting nearly 39 percent from deep. You could see why.

The Suns led in nearly every major statistical category, but the Hawks shot 10-of-21 from downtown, drilling five treys in the final period. Although the Suns shot 38 percent from behind the arc, the Hawks finished the night at a red-hot 48 percent.

4. Getting Defensive
When talking about Grant Hill before the game tonight, Gentry talked about the how he couldn’t think of another NBA player in the league that has been asked to guard four positions this season. Hill has defended everyone from Spurs point Tony Parker to Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

Against the Hawks on Wednesday, Hill limited Hawks swingman and leading scorer Joe Johnson to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting. Johnson had zero rebounds and two turnovers in 36 minutes.

5. Midnight Train to Georgia
When Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov isn’t busy breaking down film and developing Suns players, he spends his offseason coaching the Republic of Georgia’s national team.

A Serbian by birth, Kokoskov became Georgia’s national team head coach in 2008, advancing deeper in FIBA play every year. In 2011, his team advanced to the second round of the 2011 European Championships and was among the final 12 teams.

The star of Georgia’s team, Zaza Pachulia, just so happened to be the starting center of the visiting Hawks on Wednesday and talked about his national team coach after the game.

“We’ve been trying to become an elite team for years and since Igor came on board we’ve gotten better every single year,” Pachulia said. “The great thing is that he has both NBA and European experience.”

For his accomplishments with and leadership of the national program, Kokoskov was awarded the Order of Honour by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.

“We’ve also had some bad days, but he knows what to say to keep the team together,” Pachulia added. “He’s fun to play for.”

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