Suns Rise Over Hawks, Win Fourth Straight
For a half, it looked like the Suns wouldn't quite be able to find their rhythm. After all, it was their second game on the road in about 24 hours.
But a 35 point third quarter and a 25-9 run in the second half seemed to prove infectious throughout the entire squad en route to a 102-95 win over the Atlanta Hawks. For the moment, the Suns have passed the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Suns have now won four straight games and are 6-2 since the return of Eric Bledsoe.
Phoenix was on fire from beyond the arc, drilling 12-of-24 (50 percent) compared to Atlanta's 8-of-23. Eric Bledsoe hit all three of his attempts while Channing Frye nailed 4-of-9 for 12 of his 18 points.
Goran Dragic added 19 points and six assists while Markieff Morris tallied 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Five Suns players finished in double digits in scoring.
“Channing [Frye] gave us a lift early,” Hornacek said. “Our bench also gave us a lift. I thought the beginning of the third quarter was the difference for us. We got after it defensively and that was definitely a good way to start the half.”
Defensively, as Hornacek mentioned, the Suns' increased effort was clearly evident in the second half. Phoenix held the Hawks to just 42 percent shooting (34 percent from 3-point land) while forcing 17 turnovers. The Suns also outrebounded Atlanta 39-32.
Coming into Monday's game, the Suns ranked 1st in the NBA with 18.8 fast break points per game. In fact, since 1996-97, this season tops 18.5 fast break points in 2004-05 for the Suns’ highest. They certainly continued that trend on Monday finishing with an impressive 21 fast break points against the Hawks.
Phoenix has a chance to sweep this three-game road trip when they face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
The third quarter was clearly the difference-maker. Phoenix erupted for 35 points in the quarter (14 from Goran Dragic) while outscoring the Hawks by 12.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"It’s unbelievable. Goran is a terrific competitor. Off the court he’s a good friend. We encourage each other and play off one another." -- Eric Bledsoe on his relationship with Goran Dragic
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Eric Bledsoe finished with 20 points (his third straight 20+ scoring game) while adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Bledsoe shot 7-of-15 from the floor and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Phoenix is now 6-2 since Bledsoe's return from injury.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
35: after scoring 42 points in the first and second quarters combined, the Suns exploded for 35 points in the third quarter to the Hawks' 23. Phoenix never looked back.