After a disappointing showing in a blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday evening, the Atlanta Hawks looked to bounce back against a top-flight opponent on Tuesday in Phoenix. The Hawks trailed for the entirety of the night and, despite a late push, Atlanta fell by a final score of 117-110 for the team’s fourth loss in the last five games.
The Hawks stumbled at the outset, with the Suns taking a 21-11 lead in short order. Phoenix dominated the offensive glass throughout the first half, making an imprint immediately, and that left Atlanta playing from behind.
The visitors did counter, scoring seven straight points to cut the margin. John Collins found Clint Capela for a pretty lob to cap the spurt.
JC can handle both halves of an oop. pic.twitter.com/vZXkqtozow— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 31, 2021
Eventually, the Hawks tied the game at 27-27 late in the quarter when Kevin Huerter connected on a three-pointer.
Atlanta did trail at the end of the first quarter, though, and the Suns put together a big-time run to open the second period. Phoenix out-scored Atlanta by an 18-2 margin after the triple by Huerter, and the Hawks’ second unit was wholly unable to withstand the onslaught.
Once the starters returned, things stabilized to some degree, with Trae Young producing a three-point play to bring the Hawks within ten.
The Hawks trailed by 12 points at the half but, considering the Suns generated a whopping 19 second-chance points in the first 24 minutes, Atlanta was somewhat fortunate to be within striking distance. Unfortunately, word broke that the Hawks would be without John Collins for the rest of the night, as the standout big man was ruled out with a left ankle sprain during halftime.
John Collins left the game with a left ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/orUVZ8R79x— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 31, 2021
For much of the third quarter, the results were not overly favorable for the Hawks without Collins in the lineup. In fact, Atlanta trailed by as many as 15 points, but a big run was coming.
The Hawks strung together a 14-2 push, including back-to-back three-pointers by Bogdan Bogdanovic and Solomon Hill.
The final bucket of the 14-2 run came when Nathan Knight, stepping in for Collins after not playing in the first half, attacked the rim and dunked.
As a team, the Hawks shot 12-of-18 from the floor and 5-of-7 from three-point range in the third quarter, out-scoring the Suns by an eight-point margin. Still, there was work to be done, as Atlanta trailed by four points with 12 minutes remaining.
The Suns were able to extend their advantage to eight points early in the fourth quarter, putting the pressure back on the Hawks. Once Young returned from approximately a 10-minute rest period with four fouls, Atlanta made its final run, and he eventually tied the game at 103-103 with 3:31 to go.
Along the way, Young’s passing really came to the forefront, helping to lead the comeback bid.
Did we mention that Trae Young can pass? pic.twitter.com/pNA0Xp9DFI— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 31, 2021
In the final minutes, Huerter did have a shot in the air for the lead that went begging, and Bogdanovic connected on a beautiful three-pointer on the left side to bring Atlanta within a 109-108 deficit. However, Deandre Ayton produced a second-chance bucket on the next possession and, after a timeout and an empty offensive trip from Atlanta, Jae Crowder generated a four-point play for Phoenix to effectively put the game away for the Suns.
Bogdanovic led the way with 22 points and six assists for the Hawks, with Young adding 19 points and 13 assists. Capela contributed a 14-point, 16-rebound double-double, with three players (Huerter, Hill and Gallinari) reaching double figures off the bench.
The Hawks will now travel to San Antonio for a matchup against the Spurs on Thursday before venturing to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Friday.