The Hawks were back in their first action of 2018 when they traveled to Arizona to face off against the young Phoenix Suns. The Hawks were going for their 11th win of the season and Phoenix for their 15th win with both teams in the midst of a retool/rebuild.
The Hawks inactives for Friday’s game included Dewayne Dedmon, who has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his left tibia and could be out possibly another week.
Both teams came out on fire, with the Hawks getting some good play from point guard Dennis Schroder as he hit two nice jump shots and dished out an assist on a Kent Bazemore three-pointer. Bazemore played well himself and he really carried the Hawks through the first quarter with his good shooting. The Suns were shooting themselves in the foot with bad turnovers and could not buy a shot that led them to a first quarter deficit of 27-19.
The second quarter was a different story for the Hawks, as they played well in the first couple of minutes of the second quarter with Marco Belinelli hitting some absurd shots. The Hawks defense on Devin Booker and T.J. Warren sagged at the end of the second and the two combined for 32 first half points coming back to take a halftime lead 49-48.
In the third quarter, the Hawks made some adjustments on the defensive end and got Schroder back in control of the game. Ersan Ilyasova had a fantastic third quarter with a three point play and two three point jumpers while also moving the ball well to keep the offense flowing. John Collins was great on defense to close the third period and the Hawks carried a 80-73 lead into the final quarter.
The Hawks made some winning plays in the fourth quarter, including Schroder drawing some frustration fouls and making some great passes to get his teammates involved, but it wasn’t enough. Devin Booker kept the Suns involved by constantly driving and drawing free throws and down the stretch was very impressive, making a huge three to draw Phoenix to within three. Schroder committed a silly offensive foul on a drive to the basket that may have put the game out of reach for Phoenix and then Bazemore had an unforgivable foul against Booker shooting a three for the lead. Booker would make all three free throws and after a Marquese Chriss blocked shot, Booker would make two at the line to seal the deal for the Suns in a game the Hawks should have won.
For the Hawks the offense came from all over with Ilyasova scoring 21, Schroder scoring 20, Bazemore going for 20 and Belinelli posting 16. Booker had 32 in the win for Phoenix and Warren contributed 31 of his own.
The Hawks will return to action Friday night when they travel to Portland to face off against the Trail Blazers.