The Atlanta Hawks saw their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt end Friday night as they suffered a 92-87 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The final score is a little deceiving as while the Hawks were able to close the gap they never really were much of a threat for the Suns who entered the fourth quarter with an eleven point lead.
"I told the guys after the game, I thought we took a step back tonight. We reverted back to some bad habits. What is a little mind-boggling is the first three games of this trip how well we played, how well we shared the ball, how well we executed, defensively how active we've been. All those things took a back seat tonight."
The lack of a sustained defensive effort was the most apparent thing in the loss. The Suns hit 44 percent of their shots and 45 percent of their three-point attempts where they went 10-22. That proved to be too much for a Hawks team that won the battle of the boards 43-38 and had a 16-8 edge in fast break points.
The Hawks' winning streak had been fueled with good defense, great shot selection and sterling performances from their three best players in Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. None of the three was particularly effective on Friday.
Horford finished with 20 points and seven rebounds to lead the Hawks but neither Teague (six points, one assist, four turnovers) or Josh Smith (five points, 2-11 shooting, five turnovers) had positive impacts. Kyle Korver finished with 17 points while Devin Harris kicked in 12 points off the bench.
Goran Dragic led the Suns with 19 points six assists but the Suns got the biggest lift from their bench. The Phoenix bench outscored their Atlanta counterparts 58-34 led by Marcus Morris and Wesley Johnson. Morris hit 4-5 from three-point range and finished with 16 points while Johnson added 15. Jermaine O'Neal added 12 and Markieff Morris chipped in 11.
The Hawks are off on Saturday before wrapping up their road trip with a back-to-back in Los Angeles on Sunday and Denver on Monday.