NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 24th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (41-29) at Atlanta Hawks (31-37), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns are doing their best to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the jumbled Western Conference and will visit the Atlanta Hawks Monday at Philips Arena.
The Suns pulled off a big 127-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in the first of three straight road games and erased a 22-point deficit in the first half. They trailed 103-93 after three quarters, then turned it on over the next 12 minutes.
Phoenix outscored the Timberwolves 34-17 in the fourth quarter and was led by Markieff Morris's 25 points. Eric Bledsoe ended with 21 points, P.J. Tucker scored 19 and Goran Dragic added 18 points in the win, the Suns' third straight and fifth in six tries.
"Somehow they ended up pulling that game out," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said of his squad rallying in the second half. "It's a great thing to know as a coach, that your guys never give up."
Gerald Green scored 14 points and entered the game averaging 20.2 points in his previous 20 contests.
The Suns are 35-12 when scoring 100 or more points and have a 105.5 ppg average this season. They have a 17-16 road record and sit just a half-game out of a playoff spot and 2 1/2 games behind the No. 6 seed.
Phoenix will close the trip Wednesday at Washington.
Atlanta is falling back to its losing ways and is winless in the last two after ripping off five straight wins. The Hawks lost six in a row before the five-game run from March 10-18.
The Hawks had their winning streak stopped versus New Orleans on Friday, then suffered a 96-86 setback at Toronto two days later. DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap scored 17 points apiece and Jeff Teague ended with 16 points for Atlanta, which shot 43 percent and struggled from 3-point range (5-of-20). The Hawks were outscored, 36-15, in the final stanza.
"You've got to give Toronto credit, they made plays in the fourth quarter," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We missed shots, our execution wasn't there."
Hawks sharp-shooting guard Kyle Korver sat out a second straight game due to back spasms and is questionable Monday.
Atlanta will try to improve its 20-12 home record and currently resides eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, three games ahead of New York and two behind Charlotte.
The Suns beat the Hawks, 129-120, earlier this month in the desert, where Green scored 33 points and Teague countered with 29. Phoenix has won six of its last eight games in this series and is 10-4 in last 14 visits to Atlanta.
03/24 10:27:26 ET