At this point in the season it would seem strange that the Phoenix Suns had a “must win” game. However everything had lined up to make the game against the Hawks on February 2nd, one the Suns really needed to win.
Going in at 11-42 it might have been counterproductive for the Phoenix Suns to be winning games, especially with so much time left in the year.
Down the stretch there will almost definitely be more “must lose” games for them to keep up with teams like the New York Knicks in the lottery. So this was not going to start a trend for the rest of the year or anything.
This does not mean that the Phoenix Suns should not still try to win games, because I know that 21 wins got pretty bad last year so we do not want to find out what happens when that gets down below 20. This is why the game against the Hawks was a game the Phoenix Suns very much needed to, and very well should have, won.
The Suns were coming off of a three-day break which is their longest break of the season up to this point. So the Suns should have had plenty of energy to get off to a fast start in the first quarter for a change. It was also the return of Deandre Ayton from his ankle injury. Which, even though he was not great still meant we did not have to see any of Dragan Bender or Emanuel Terry which is usually good.
The other important factor for this game was that the Suns were playing at home and against the Atlanta Hawks, if this game was against roughly 24 other teams it would not have been as important to win. The Suns needed to show that they are capable of beating other teams their age and talent value, especially on their home floor. Even more so when they have three days of rest and the Hawks had just come off the first night of a back-to-back.
A loss gave the Suns a season long 10 game losing streak, and with a players only meeting already sprinkled in the middle of that there it would be dangerous to let it grow longer.
So although it would have hurt the tank and draft odds a win against the Hawks was necessary, and not too much to ask even this Suns team. To begin to build some positive momentum and stop the Suns from continuing down this dangerous losing path.