Disaster Averted: Hawks squander lead, squeak by Suns

3.28.17

 

Atlanta – Band-aids, duct tape, rubber bands, and glue were needed but the Atlanta Hawks found a way to patch together a win on Tuesday night.  Atlanta jumped out to an 18-point lead early in the contest only to find themselves squeaking out a 95-91 win over the Phoenix Suns.  The win snapped a 7-game losing streak for Atlanta, who has been spiraling downward as the season nears its conclusion.  Dennis Schroder led five Hawks in double figures with 27 points including key back to back three point baskets in the Hawks’ game clinching run.   TJ Warren led a short handed Suns squad with 24 points.  Atlanta entered the contest on a steady decline: not having experienced victory since a March 11 win at Memphis however, a win against a Phoenix team in a similar spiral would do wonders for a Hawks team teetering on the cusp of falling from one of the top four teams in the East to possibly outside of the playoff picture.  The Suns, with a record of 22-53, entered the contest already eliminated from playoff contention and searching for the next star among younger players that haven’t played much this season.  As such,  Phoenix chose to rest veterans Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe, and possibly their best player (who owns a 70 point game this season) Devin Booker against Atlanta.  The Hawks, who have already been without Paul Millsap for the entirety of the losing streak were also without starters Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha.

Dennis Schroder looks to operate vs. Phoenix

 

Injuries and rest led to a war of attrition between the Hawks and Suns on Tuesday night but, as Rasheed Wallace would say, both teams played hard which made for a great contest at Philips Arena.  Atlanta used hot shooting from Dennis Schroder to jump out early against the Suns.  Schroder pumped in 13 first quarter points as the Hawks built a 27-12 advantage after the first quarter. An early second quarter spurt gave the impression that this game would be over quickly but the Hawks’ reserves were not as successful and the scrappy visitors from the West Coast were able to crawl back within 3 at halftime.  The second half began as more of the same as the Hawks and Suns could not find their rhythm offensively (both teams shot 22% from 3).  Phoenix however, was the aggressor around the basket and began to control the glass offensively to put pressure on Atlanta.  Many of the Suns’ offensive rebounds led to second shot baskets from Warren and Kentucky alum Tyler Ulis.  Phoenix eventually would take a seven point advantage on a Ronnie Price 3 point basket with just under 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  At that point in the game, the Hawks faithful was starting to believe that Atlanta was headed for their 8th straight defeat and a ticket outside of the playoff race but Dennis Schroder would have none of that on this night.

Suns and Hawks battle at Philips Arena.

 

Schroder canned back to back three point baskets and added an assist within a minute of Price’s basketball to spark a 17-1 run that would push Atlanta out front for good.  As the clock ticked away, Atlanta supporters were relieved that all was not lost on a night where the results around the NBA coupled with a Hawks loss could have spelled doom for Atlanta.  The Hawks are hopeful this victory serves as a much needed shot in the arm and, with the pending return of their missing pieces, provide the jump start to a strong regular season finish and postseason run.  Ersan Ilyasova and Dwight Howard both chipped in double-doubles to support Schroder while Ulis finished with 15 points and 10 assists for Phoenix.

 

 

Up Next

Atlanta Hawks v. Philadelphia 76ers

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

7pm

 

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