Well that sucked. 6 seconds away from victory. A 4 point lead with 6 seconds to play.
I could point the finger at Amare Stoudemire for missing one of two clutch free throws with 3 seconds left in the game, thus enabling the Hawks to win, as opposed to simply sending the game into OT which I am very sure the Suns would have won...Er....OK, it's bad to write, drive, or do anything when feeling emotional and whatnot, so I'll just say that at this moment in time, I'm not quite certain what's worse, losing a 24 point lead to the Pacers en route to an 8 point loss, or losing a close one we no doubt should have won to a very good team like the Hawks in the last seconds. Either one hurts. Bad.
But on the bright side (if there is one right now), the Suns played a road game against a tough opponent, stuck with it, even though they struggled, and made a game of it. For that, we should be proud. And now, to the normal part of my recap...
After shrugging off a 1-6 start from the field, the Suns took advantage of some awful Hawks shooting to win the quarter 25-17. Robin Lopez entered the game early after Amare Stoudemire picked up two quick fouls and sparked the Suns with 4 points and 4 rebounds, 3 of which were of the offensive variety. Meanwhile Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith were a combined 1-14 from the field. The Hawks went 1-11 in the paint.
In the second quarter a minor panic occurred on the game thread when the Suns increased their lead to 12 points, and for good reason. The Hawks promptly went on a 10-0 run as Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford hit consecutive shots, while the Suns turned the ball over, committed a shooting foul and then gave up a D-3 free throw.
After Atlanta tied the game up with 4 minutes left at 41, the Suns responded. Robin Lopez, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash returned to the game and the Suns went on a 12-7 run to regain the lead 53-48 with under a minute to go.
At the half the Suns were shooting 47.9% and the Hawks, 38%. Grant Hill led the charge with 15 points, Amare Stoudemire had 8 and 5, while Robin Lopez put in 6 points and 4 rebounds. Through the first two quarters the Suns bench outscored the Hawks 20-12.
The Hawks began the quarter outscoring the Suns 16-9 to take the lead at 64-63 as both teams struggled to make baskets. The Suns finished the quarter 7-19 to keep things close, down 78-75. It all came down to the 4th quarter.
Things were looking bright as the Hawks collectively picked up 4 team fouls. A technical foul called on Hawks coach Mike Woodson with 10.29 left allowed the Suns to tie the score at 78. From then on it was a dogfight that went something like this:
Lopez with hook 82-78
Bibby 3, 82-81 suns
Stat strong to the hoop, To
Williams 2, ATL 83-82
Stat strong to the hoop misses follows, draws foul.
Amare 2 FT 84-83 Suns
Bibby picks up off foul
Stat hits 15 footer 86-83 Suns
Crawford 18 footer 86-85 Suns
Lopez from 10 88-85 Suns
J Smith makes 1 of 2 FT
Nash makes 10 footer
Lopez blocks joe Johnson shot
90-86 Suns w 4 left
Nash hits 20 footer 92-86 Suns
Joe Johnson miss
Grant Hill fouled
Hill makes 1 of 2 Suns 93-86
Josh Smith dunk 93-88 Suns
Nash miss, foul on Horford
Lopez makes 1 of 2 94-88 Suns
Crawford fouled makes 2 of 2 94-90 Suns
Josh Smith hook 94-92 Suns
Hill misses from 15
Josh Smith dunk 94-94
Nash misse 3, Amare RB
94-94 1.28 left
Suns steal, Dragic dunk! 96-94
J Johnson misses 3
Stoudemire 8 footer 98-94 Suns 40 seconds left
Grant Hill foul
Horford makes 2 FT's 98-96 Suns
Nash drives, draws foul
Nash makes 2 Ft's 100-96 Suns, 10 seconds left
Bibby misses 3, Josh Smith fouled 6.0 seconds left
Smith makes 1 of two. Crawford rebound and SCORES 100-99 Suns 3.5 left
Stoudemire fouled on inbounds
Stoudemire makes 1 of 2 101-99 Suns 3.0 seconds left
CRAWFORD HITS 3, GAME OVER. 102-101 HAWKS
- Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Other than his missed free throw, he played inspired 4th quarter basketball that made me proud.
- Grant Hill played one of the best games of the season, in 32 minutes, he went 21 and 6, but was clearly gassed by the 4th.
- Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez both played great off the bench. Dragic went 10 and 6, while Lopez was a huge factor on both ends of the court with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks.
- The Suns outscored the Hawks in the paint 48-38
- The suns had 21 fast break points, the Hawks had 6.
- The Hawks outr-ebounded the Suns 50-41
- The Suns shot 2-13 from three point range (15%)
No doubt this loss hurts, but to be honest it hurts much less than the Indiana game. The Suns showed grit and resolve tonight. Sure they went up 12 and lost the lead, but the Hawks are not the Pacers. They hung tough on a night when the shots weren't falling and kept things close the hard way.
Props to Grant Hill, props to Robin Lopez, and I'm even going to give props to Amare Stoudemire who came alive in the 4th with 11 4th quarter points even though he missed 3 vital free throws . Grant Hill and Robin Lopez also missed free throws in the 4th. In fact, the Suns missed 9 free throws in the game, shooting 72% from the charity stripe.
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