Suns close out Hawks to make it three straight
The Phoenix Suns earned their third straight win on Tuesday night as DeAndre Ayton dropped his 24th double-double of the season, eclipsing his total from last season. Final Score: Suns 117-110 Hawks
Atlanta were looking to steady the ship but have now lost four of their last 5 games following the 8-0 start they had under head coach Nate McMillan.
It was a close battle from the first whistle but the Suns managed to edge ahead and were sparked into live by their bench, namely Dario Saric.
Saric dropped a quick 11 points as Phoenix extended their lead to 16 points early in the second quarter. Trae Young was being made to work for every inch on offense by Mikal Bridges but he was able to adjust and notched 8 first half assists to go along with a 10 pt 10 rebound first half double-double from Clint Capela to keep the Hawks within touching distance. HT: Hawks 52-64 Suns
The Hawks lost John Collins at half time due to a sprained ankle, they still came out determined to get back in the game but things were made worse when Trae Young had to be taken out of the game just 5 minutes into the third quarter after picking three fouls to give him four for the game.
Devin Booker's 11 third quarter points proved crucial as Atlanta cut the lead to just four points heading into the final quarter.
The Hawks eventually drew level with 3:20 remaining in the game but couldn't do enough to get in front when they had the momentum. Mr.double-double, DeAndre Ayton stepped up with a couple of clutch buckets but a three pointer from Bogdan Bogdanovic, who finished the game with 22 points, kept the Hawks in touch.
Jae Crowder had his most efficient nights in a Suns jersey, finishing 19/4/3, and with just 23 seconds remaining he dropped his 5th three pointer from the corner to ice the game and kill off the spirited second half fight back from the Hawks.
The Suns now sit three games back on the 1st place Utah Jazz in the Western Conference with a record of 32-14. While the Hawks are still very much alive in the battle for the post-season in the East, their record of 23-24 good enough for 6th place in the Conference.