Mar 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Phoenix Suns forwardMarkieff Morris
(11) and Atlanta Hawks forwardElton Brand
(42) collide under the basket during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Hawks suffered a 17th loss in 23 games, in a sparsely-attended matchup versus the Phoenix Suns in Philips Arena Monday night. The Suns moved to 42-29 and are battling Dallas for the final playoff slot in the Western Conference. Were they an Eastern Conference team, the Suns would possess the 3 seed. Though Atlanta may still back door into the 8th playoff slot with a sub .500 record, they have been significantly outclassed by the Western teams they have faced this season.
Atlanta played Phoenix nearly dead even in the first two quarters, with Lou Williams and Paul Millsap each notching eleven points before the break. The explosive Suns’ team actually led the Hawks 79-65 at the intermission in the last matchup of these teams, so holding them below fifty for an opening half seemed like an accomplishment. Unfortunately for the Hawks, NBA games are usually about 2nd-half play.
The Phoenix team mirrors the NBA playing career of their head coach, Jeff Hornacek, in overall skill set. Virtually the whole team can shoot the deep ball well and run the break fluidly with drives to the basket. The point guard combo of the jacked Bledsoe subbing for the elusive Dragic proved too much for Atlanta, especially in the 3rd quarter. Dragic notched 14 of their 35 in that lost quarter for the Hawks.
A three-point Hawks lead at the half was rather suddenly a ten-point gap with 5:00 in the game. Atlanta never recovered, as Gerald Green heated up late to put the Hawks on ice and the Suns eventually won 102-95.