If you don’t have much of taste for defensive-minded basketball, you would have enjoyed the Suns Sunday night matchup against the struggling Atlanta Hawks. The offensives threw down, and the Suns ended up taking the victory 129-120.
The Suns came out of the gate scorching. They scored 79 points in the first half, the most allowed by an Atlanta team since 1976. it was the Suns highest since 2009, when they scored 81 against the Clippers. The Suns went into halftime with a fifteen point lead, but it was cut to 95-94 in the third quarter. However, three straight buckets by the Suns allowed them to reclaim control and ride it out to the end.
The Suns shot 55 percent from the floor. They tied a season high with 15three-pointers made, going 15-24 from behind the arc. The Hawks only did marginally worse, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor. Of course, such lackluster defense won’t work for the Suns often, because the offense, while usually a formidable force, won’t always be the pure scoring machine it was tonight.
Gerald Green led the Suns with 33 points, two shy of his career high, while shooting 9-14 and making 10-10 free throws. With him lighting up the scoreboard, Goran Dragic was able to present a relatively weak night for him in terms of scoring. Dragic would finish with 19 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.
The Morris twins also had excellent nights, combing for 39 points and 17 boards. Ish Smith also was helpful, adding eight points and seven times. This trio has made the Suns bench an invaluable piece of their recent victories. When opposing teams know that they have to focus on more than Dragic or Green, the Suns can run opponents dry. They did that to Atlanta, who made the mistake of letting the Suns control the pace. In typical Suns fashion, the Suns dared the Hawks to face them in a track meet, and the Suns usually win those.
The Suns now sit at 35-24. With Dallas and Golden State losing, the Suns jump to the seventh seed and are gaining on the sixth. Hoefully that can last through Tuesday, when the Suns host Chris Paul and the Clippers.