Archives For Phoenix Suns

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks (without Paul Millsap) dropped their fourth game in succession — and their seventh in eight games — after losing out to the Phoenix Suns at Talking S(h)tick Resort Arena, 107-109. Brandon Knight led the Suns in scoring with 23 points while receiving other significant contributions from P.J. Tucker and Jared Dudley, who scored 17 points each.

End of the road (trip)

Atlanta’s five game road trip is finally over. It’s been a rough week and a bit for the Hawks, five games in seven nights and only a 1-4 record to show for all their efforts. It’s safe to say everyone is looking forward to putting this road trip behind them and getting back home to Atlanta.

“…it’ll be good to get back home, sleep in your own bed and get ready to get back at it.” — Kent Bazemore

“You never feel good when you have a tough road trip and you’ve lost a few in a row. But I think we are looking forward to going home…” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

It was a weird game for the Hawks to drop. Not so much of the opposition (although the Suns were 5-13 heading into last night’s game) but listen to these stats from last night’s game:

The Hawks shot 50% from the field, shot 36% from behind the arc, scored over 100 points, scored 21 second chance points, scored 20 fastbreak points, scored 29 points off of the Suns’ turnovers and had three players who scored 20 or more points… And still lost. Kent Bazemore had an… interesting, shall we say, way of describing how the Hawks have been playing of late.

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The Atlanta Hawks avenged their rough mid-season loss to the Phoenix Suns with a 103-90 victory at Philips Arena last night. After Archie Goodwin threw up a three-point prayer in Phoenix, and nailed it with 0.1 seconds remaining, the Hawks made sure to take care of their business, and beat the Suns as everyone believed they would.

The Suns were led by Devin Booker’s 34 points, while the Hawks were led by Paul Millsap’s near triple-double effort (which we’ll cover in greater detail), and Al Horford’s double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Quick playoff implications

With the Charlotte Hornets dropping a game to the Toronto Raptors last night, the Hawks moved 1.5 games clear of the Hornets and remain in control of the third seed. Although, to keep that third seed they will need to put some distance between themselves and the Miami Heat, who are one game behind Atlanta having played a game less — and own the tiebreaker having won the season series.

Weathering the storm

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The Atlanta Hawks’ season can’t have hit much more of a low note after suffering a 98-95 defeat against the Phoenix Suns, who were without Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Markieff Morris, Jon Leuer, and Ronnie Price. In a classic trap game situation the Suns got the job done, with Archie Goodwin hitting the go-ahead, contested three with 0.1 seconds of the game remaining. The Hawks are now 1-2 on their Western Conference road trip. In a very disappointing loss, what were the takeaways from this game?

The need for a consistent backup center

With Paul Millsap unavailable for this game due to personal reasons, Al Horford slid over to the power forward spot and Tiago Splitter started at center. Millsap has been Atlanta’s best player this season and his production was always going to be sorely missed, as he leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and steals. It was, therefore, important that the Hawks received meaningful production from Splitter, but this never materialized. Splitter only registered two points, three rebounds and a plus-minus rating of minus-13 in just 17 minutes, 11 of which came in the first half.

I’m sorry but he earns nearly $9 million this season. How can you justify having a backup center who can’t even provide 20 minutes or play in crunch time (in a game where rebounding was an issue) when there’s an injury? There was a period in the fourth quarter where Mike Scott played center (while Horford got some rest, eventually playing 38 minutes) and Thabo Sefolosha was the power forward. I love Mike Scott, and he had a good game, but he should NEVER be your center. At all. Continue Reading…

After a couple of days off, the Hawks wiped the court with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, winning 96-69 and clinching the best record in franchise history by notching their 58th win of the season.

“I’m very proud of our players and very proud of our organization,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer in his post game presser. “I’m very happy for our city. To have the most wins in franchise history, it’s important to take a moment and recognize the work of our players and the organization.”

The game started off with Al Horford missing an easy bunny at the rim, but the tides changed quickly as the Hawks responded with a 8-0 run to put a decent cushion between them and the Suns. The contest stayed relatively close for the remainder of the first half, which caused some chipiness between the two teams. Pero Antic, Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll, Budenholzer, and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris all received technical fouls, mostly over displeasure over how the game was being officiated. Continue Reading…

Well they can’t all be easy. The Hawks needed a late game comeback, some clutch shooting, and Al Horford to pull out tonight’s very physical victory, but they prevailed defeating the Suns 96-87.

The reason the Hawks struggled really felt like the same old story just told in a different setting with a different opponent. The team has been coasting for much of the last month and it’s quite obvious on night’s like tonight where it just doesn’t feel like the team is all the way there. The offense would randomly sputter for long stretches of time throughout the night, and far too often were the Suns allowed to get out on the break and run. Atlanta did a good job of getting back in transition, but the Suns managed to use the chaos to get off a quick set and score some easy buckets. The Hawks still played great when they had to, but it felt very inconsistent and unlike what their expectations are at right now.

Of course, this might have had to do with the physicality of the game and less to do with the Hawks themselves. The refs were letting both sides play for most of the night and Phoenix took advantage of it first. They played physical with Atlanta and used that physicality to force them out of their comfort zone, and break up a lot of their sets. It was a sloppy game, especially in the second half, that involved a lot of players having to create their own offense. This is an enviorment that a player like Eric Bledsoe can thrive in as he scored 21 points and was generally causing havoc for the Hawks defense all night.

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RECAP: Suns 102, Hawks 95

Bo Churney —  March 25, 2014

FINAL

PHX(42-29) 102 – 95 (31-38)ATL  

Key Performers:
E. Bledsoe (PHX): 20 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
D. Carroll (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well, after winning five in a row after that awful losing stretch, the Hawks are back on the wrong side of the result with a third straight loss against Phoenix. The Hawks were leading at halftime, but the Suns outscored the Hawks 35-23 in the third quarter, largely behind Goran Dragic, who had 14 points in the quarter. Gerald Green then closed the game in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points over a stretch that gave turned the Phoenix lead from four into 10 with just five minutes left in the game. The Hawks are just 2.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was really defended well by the Suns, but he was able to get some work in at the free throw line, going 7-for-10 from the stripe. He was only 6-for-14 from the field though and a lot of his makes weren’t from easy attempts. Suns made him work hard for the buckets. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague and the entire team were really dominated by Dragic and Bledsoe. They did a good job at cutting off passing lanes and as a result, the Hawks only had 18 assists on the night. Part of that was also fouls (the Hawks got to the line 33 times, Teague seven times), but credit to the Suns’ defense for making the Hawks work the shot clock on a lot of possessions. 6/10

Pero Antic: Pero was only 2-for-6 from the field, but there was a moment in the first half where it looked like he was heat-checking on shots… Pretty sure Coach Budenholzer didn’t appreciate Pero taking tough shots like that early in the shot clock. 3/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre scored 19 points on just eight shots, which is probably one of the best offensive games of his career. Really unfortunate that the Hawks kind of wasted this kind of game from him. 9/10

Shelvin Mack: Per the usual, conservative ball-handling game for Shelvin, who netted six assists and only one turnover, but 2-for-9 from the field is not what the Hawks need out of their starting shooting guard spot. Hawks could really use Korver back in the lineup. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

PHX(35-24) 129 – 120 (26-32)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Green (PHX): 33 pts, 3 reb
J. Teague (ATL): 29 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

That looked a little too much like a video game. Threes were being jacked up to no end (55 combined), Gerald Green defied every physical law in the book and the final score was reminiscent of an All-Star game. The Hawks were on the wrong end of this barnburner, falling victim to their own poor transition defense and allowing Phoenix to get out to an early first half lead. In the third quarter, the law of averages caught up to the Suns, who finally began missing some wide open looks. Atlanta cut their deficit to just one before subsequently giving up a 7-1 run, eventually keeping out of reach through the fourth quarter. There were some bright spots, however. Mike Muscala made his NBA debut, Jeff Teague had another strong offensive outing and in general the Hawks challenged a Western Conference Playoff team without their two best players, as well as Pero Antic.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: In arguably his best game of the season, Jeff Teague dropped 29 points, had nine assists and collected six boards on 14-21 shooting from the field. What stood out was ultimately what he’s lacked when playing badly: aggressiveness. Teague was pedal to the medal, heading all the way to the basket at every opportunity. A look at the shot chart confirms what my eye test saw, Teague took few jumpers. Four to be exact, with two around the free throw line. Teague also came up with a huge block on Shavlik Randolph in the closing quarter, topping off an inspiring performance by the enthused Teague. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll was a bit out of place tonight, with the Suns pace seemingly being too much for him to handle. He wasn’t able to cause as much havoc on the defensive end as he normally does, but the major issue was on the offensive side of the ball. The up-and-down flow of the game had Carroll trying to do things with the basketball he shouldn’t, even though his statistics didn’t prove to be too poor at all: 3-5 shooting, 10 points. This just wasn’t Carroll’s cup of tea. 5/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is off to 126, as Kyle got that problem out of the way rather early. He hit four threes against the Celtics and finished with 17 points overall. He also had a weird, Dream Shake-ish looking up-and-under in the third quarter that I didn’t even know Kyle was capable of doing. 7/10

Elton Brand: Brand’s lack of mobility indirectly lead to the extra help by his teammates leading to the barrage of Phoenix treys, but he didn’t struggle with defending the interior when in the right spot or nailing his short mid-range jumpers. Brand was actually second on the team in +/- with a +2, scoring 13 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. 8/10

Mike Scott: Scott picked up the shooting slack with Millsap out of commission tonight, putting up a wholesome 18 field goal tries – half of which were threes – in a whopping 40 minutes of action. He connected on eight shots to finish with 20 points, a strong outing considering he’s taken this many shots in a game just once before in his entire career. He also contributed with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. 8/10 Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Phoenix Suns

Cole Patty —  October 29, 2013

2012-13 Record: 25-57 (15th in West)z-suns

Playoff Result: N/A

Key Additions: Eric Bledsoe (trade), Alex Len (draft), Archie Goodwin (draft), Emeka Okafor (trade)

Key Losses: Jared Dudley (trade), Michael Beasley (cut), Marcin Gortat (trade)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 26-56, pre-Gortat trade (15th in West)*

What to Expect: It’s a new day, the sun is rising….

That was a terrible pun…

Going with it.

Last season, the Phoenix Suns might have been the most unwatchable team in the league. With the departure of Steve Nash, the team tried a rebuild on the fly with a Michael Beasely reclamation project that went exactly how it sounds. They fired Alvin Gentry, picked up the other Morris twin in a savvy move to complete their package, and made the other Zeller relevant for a short amount of time. Despite all of these efforts it was much of the same under Lindsey Hunter. At least Goran Dragic seems like a bargain at $7.5 million. It wasn’t all bad last year. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 107, Suns 94

Bo Churney —  March 15, 2013

FINAL

PHX  (22-44) 94 – 107 (36-29) ATL

Key Performers:

D. Harris (ATL): 15 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl
G. Dragic (PHX): 21 pts, 8 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks were able to get back at the Suns for the loss in Phoenix, riding fiery three-point shooting (52%) to put them on top. Josh Smith returned and nearly put up a triple-double, and Devin Harris was set the tone early by constantly getting out on the break, resulting in a fastbreak point disparity of 29-5 over the Suns. After the game, Larry Drew credited the win to swarming defense at the three-point line, as the Suns only shot 3-for-19 (16%) from deep.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: An impressive return from Smoove after sitting out the Lakers game. He was on triple-double alert early, and joked after the game “hey man, all I can do is distribute” when asked how he fell short of double-digits on assists. His game started off strong, as he was 5-for-6 in the first quarter, with five of those attempts coming inside the paint. The 17-11-7 line gave Josh his 25th double-double on the season, and for good measure, he banked in his only free throw attempt on the night. 8.5/10

Al Horford: Al’s shot was off tonight, but it didn’t look like it did anything to his confidence, because he was willing to keep shooting. After starting 1-for-6 from the floor in the first half, he recovered to shoot 5-for-10 in the 2nd. Al also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, meaning that the Hawks improved to a record of 15-2 when he and Josh both record a double-double in a game. 7/10

Devin Harris: Devin started at point for the first time this season, and he set the tone for this game early with his quick play on the floor. Coach remarked, “I thought Devin did a phenomenal job pushing the pace of the game. He was able to get to the basket and make plays, and we tried to sustain that throughout the game.” To me, this is the most important aspect of the game for the Hawks; they have to set a fast pace early in the game, and force teams to match their energy. Despite Josh’s near trip-dub, I would give Devin MVP honors for today’s game. 9/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is up to 58 games, as Kyle scored 16 points tonight on 4-for-5 three-point shooting. I was really happy to see a game like this from Kyle, because the last few games of the streak had seemed to hanging by a thread at some points. Barring Steph Curry’s game against the Warriors, this performance was likely enough to put Kyle back on top of the league in three-point percentage. 8/10

DeShawn Stevenson: DeShawn added to the three-point barrage the Hawks employed tonight, knocking down three three-pointers of his own. He was also able to force some turnovers, which helped a lot with the transition game. 6/10

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RECAP: Suns 92, Hawks 87

Raj Prashad —  March 2, 2013

FINAL

PHX(21-39) 92 – 87 (33-24) ATL

Key Performers:

A. Horford (ATL): 20 pts, 7 reb, 4 asts, 3 stl, 2 blk
G. Dragic (PHX): 19 pts, 2 reb, 6 asts, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

It was your classic Hawks letdown. Atlanta was riding a four-game winning streak thanks in part to some career nights from Al Horford and a hot stretch from Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. Fast forward to Friday night and the Hawks, midway through a nine-game road trip, turned in a sloppy effort which eventually allowed Phoenix to coast to a five-point victory.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: It was a pretty laxidasical effort from Smoove. Not much effort on the offensive end, wasn’t closing out hard on defense and really his only appearance was crashing the boards (10 rebounds). Smith shot 2-of-11 from the field, notched five points, missed all five 3-point attempts he took and turned the ball over five times. He truly shot Atlanta out of the game late in the fourth. 3/10

Al Horford: Coming off career-high games of points and rebounds, Horford couldn’t find his stroke early. He started to turn it on late, shooting 50 percent on the night, but his presence on the defensive end really helped Atlanta stay in this one until the final minutes. 8/10

Kyle Korver: It was a nice bounce back game for Korver, who scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds on his way to 51 consecutive games with which he hit a 3-pointer. His defensive awareness and inability to close out on Wesley Johnson virtually gave the game away, though. 6/10

DeShawn Stevenson: His finger popped out of socket early on, he popped it back in himself and came back to hit 2-of-3 attempts. He only played 12 minutes, but was serviceable on the defensive end. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Following a stretch of incredibly aggressive games, it was almost expected for Teague to have somewhat of an off-game. He shot 30 percent, had flashes of aggressive play, but turned the ball over four times and lost Goran Dragic in transition and on pick-and-roll plays. Even worse, he only had one assist in the loss. 3/10 Continue Reading…