When: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 4:30 PM local time (7:30 ET)
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Watch/Listen: TV: Fox Sports Arizona Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
This is the second of two meetings between the teams this season. The Hawks lead the series 1-0.
On March 13, 2015 the Phoenix Suns collapsed in the fourth quarter and lost to the Atlanta Hawks 96-87 at US Airways Center.
Phoenix led 73-65 through three quarters before getting outscored 31-14 in the final period.
Markieff Morris led the Suns with 22 points and five steals, while Eric Bledsoe had 21 points, six assists and seven turnovers. Paul Millsap paced the Hawks with 23 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Phoenix Suns: 39-38
Alex Len is still out with a broken nose and is getting fit for a mask tomorrow. He is targeting a return Friday against the Pelicans, but I won't be surprised if the Suns shut him down.
Brandon Knight is also still out with an ankle injury and is unlikely to play again this season.
So how about the guys who are playing... Phoenix ended a five game skid in their last outing by beating the Utah Jazz 87-85. Utah's size inside has given the Suns fits recently, but Phoenix overcame that obstacle even without Alex Len in the lineup. The Suns still walked the tightrope (see funambulism), with Utah getting a possession to tie or win in the closing seconds, but this time the referees missed a foul on P.J. Tucker and the Jazz couldn't join the "I beat the Suns at the buzzer" club...
This is the first stop on a four game road trip. Phoenix will also visit the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs before finishing the season off at home against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Atlanta Hawks: 57-19
The Hawks have been on cruise control for some time now, having basically clinched top record in the East in early March, but are still playing the same starting five (Paul Millsap, Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver) that was named Eastern Conference Player(s) of the Month in January.
Atlanta is fifth in the league in made three pointers and second in three point shooting percentage. Korver appears like he may fall just short of being the first ever 50/50/90 player (.494/.498/.894).
The Hawks are playing just above .500 recently (7-6 in their last 13 games), but are coming off a 131-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
What To Watch For:
T.J. Warren - After scoring in double digits in three straight games Warren was limited to just four points against the Jazz while he struggled with foul problems and played just 14 minutes. Look for him to rebound against the Hawks and play a larger role on a team besieged with injuries. Warren is shooting .567 from the field this season. Tonight would be just as good a time as any for his first career 20 point game.
Cruise Control - The Hawks are 33-5 at home this season, but just 5-5 in their last 10 games overall. They have recent losses to the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets. Atlanta has already clinched home court advantage through the Eastern Conference Playoffs. If there is a time the Hawks are susceptible for an upset it might be now.
The Final Word(s):
The Suns can win this game.
If the Hawks were in the Western Conference, and the Thunder were healthy, Atlanta would probably be fighting with Dallas for the 8th playoff spot. I mean, really, are the Hawks better than the Spurs or Clippers? Yeah...
Still, just because the Suns can do something doesn't mean they will. No outcome in this game will surprise me including either team winning by 30.