Kevin C. Cox
The Atlanta Hawks look to build off of Wednesday's feel good win over the Los Angeles Lakers when they host the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
The Atlanta Hawks look to build some momentum off of Wednesday's improbable win over the Los Angeles Lakers when they host the Phoenix Suns Friday night at Philips Arena. Atlanta entered Wednesday's contest having lost six of their last seven games and were sinking fast in the Eastern Conference standings. They rallied to beat the Lakers despite being without the services of Josh Smith and Jeff Teague who were battling injuries. Coincidentally they now face a Suns team that began their slide back on March 1 with a 92-87 loss in Phoenix.
Officially Josh Smith, Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia are listed as questionable against the Suns. Teague twisted his ankle and Smith suffered a sprained knee in Tuesday's loss in Miami. Pachulia has missed the last six games with a sore Achilles. His sought out another medical opinion on the injury prior to Wednesday's game but the results are unknown. The injury was first thought to be minor but is looking more and more serious as the missed games continue to pile up. The statuses of Smith, Teague and Pachulia will be updated later in the day.
As the season continues to wind down the stakes are large for the Hawks who enter Friday's games in a three-way tie for 5th place in the East standings. Atlanta is 2.5 games in front of Milwaukee for eighth place and 2.5 games behind Brooklyn for fourth. So there is still plenty at stake in terms of positioning. At this point it is paramount for the Hawks to avoid falling to eighth where they would matchup with the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Phoenix comes into Friday's game having lost two straight and six of their last ten overall. They suffered a disappointing 111-81 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. The Suns will also be missing a key player as center Marcin Gortat is expected to be out until early April due to a foot injury.
The Hawks got spirited efforts from Al Horford and reserves like Devin Harris and Johan Petro in Wednesday's win over the Lakers. They will need more of the same on Friday especially if Teague and Smith are unable to return.
Game Date/Time: Friday, March 15, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 The Fan, 93.7 FM
Online Streaming: NBA League Pass Broadband