The Suns road trip continued Monday night when they headed south to face the Atlanta Hawks. The Suns burst out to an 11-2 lead, but fell behind 45-42 by halftime. In the second half the Suns came out swinging, ending with a 102-95 victory.
In the first few minutes of the game the Suns started by shooting 4-4 from deep, though they would end at 12-24 from behind the arc. The Suns shooting went cold later in the first quarter, and too many rebounds by the Hawks turned the tide. However, the Suns would end up winning on the glass 39-32. The Suns also shot 14-16 from the foul line, which is an oddly low number of attempts given their style of play.
In the third quarter, the Suns went on a 27-11 run that gave them control of the game, and they didn’t give it back. The Suns defense was strong for much of the game, holding Atlanta 41.7 percent shooting and controlling the pace for most of the time. This stout defense led to 17 Atlanta turnovers and 21 fastbreak points for the Suns, who lead the league with 18.8 fastbreak points for game. When the Suns generate points 1uickly like this, the track meet style they like to play becomes easy to run and tough to stop. It all centers around defense though, which the Suns sometimes have trouble with.
Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists. He hit 3-3 from long range, where he sometimes struggles. Backcourt buddy Goran Dragic was right behind with 19 points and six assists. After a rough first half where he only scored five points, the Dragon came alive and was a big part of the Suns run in the third quarter. Channing Frye also shook off his recent cold streak, adding 18 points and seven boards. Markieff Morris followed up his 25 point game last night with 17 points off the bench.
The Suns improve to 42-29 with this victory. They are currently tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth seed. They sweep the season series against the Hawks 2-0. They will get Tuesday off before heading to Washington D.C. to take on the Wizards and former Sun Marcin Gortat.