The Phoenix Suns beat the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday afternoon 127-120 after being down 22 points at one point the Suns made their way back in the biggest comeback game of the season. Clearly, this was a big game for the Suns who are still battling for the last spot in the western conference. Minnesota squandered a 10-point lead headed into the fourth quarter where the Suns pieced together a 14-3 run to take the lead since the opening quarter. The Suns were beat on the offensive boards and turned the ball over a total of 19 times.
The 41-29 Suns travel to Atlanta Monday night to face the 31-37 Hawks who are in the playoff hunt, currently sitting in the eighth spot out in the east. The Suns needed a big 14-3 run against the Wolves in order to win. This is because they once again placed themselves in a huge hole by turning the ball over 19 times in the game. This trend of starting slow and making numerous mistakes will be the reason the Suns do not make the playoffs. The Hawks aren’t necessarily scorching the earth with their shooting but they can get hot in a hurry and the Suns will need to watch out for this to avoid losing Monday night. Look for the Hawks to attack the paint and feed Paul Millsap early and often.
Miles Plumlee versus Paul Millsap. Plumlee has struggled in the second half of the season. But at least in the last couple of weeks Plumlee has shown glimmers of the first half performance for the team. Plumlee will have his hands full with Millsap in the paint. Millsap is averaging 17.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per games this season. A solid line for a player who is on a very mediocre team.
Turnovers. The Suns continue to dig themselves into bad situations. The slow starts on offense and the poor ball control when they get in tight situations. Their 15.4 per game turnover average is top five in the league. This is how you find yourself on the outside looking in.
What the Suns offense needs to look for:
Getting the bigs involved. When the Morris twins both score in double-figures the Suns are 19-8. The twins have come up big in crucial spots for the Suns this season. Getting them involved early offensively will help the Suns with their tendency of having slow starts.
What the Suns defense needs to look out for:
Millsap. Paul Millsap had 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals in a losing effort Sunday night against the Raptors. Millsap has been a solid contributor this season on a very average team. The Suns will have to protect the paint if they hope to stifle the Hawks offense.
Hawks sleeper to have a good game:
Elton Brand. Yes, that Elton Brand. Brand is a big body that can cause issues for the relatively smaller Suns lineup. Brand is effective around the rim and can cause headaches with his interior defense as well.
Prediction: The Suns beat the Hawks 111-102.