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Quick Recap: Suns cruise past Hawks, 128-112

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Hawks were spunky, but the Suns were too much for them.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns (7-4 now) played this game like a winning team cruising to a victory over an overmatched one. They didn’t have much energy except for a Kelly Oubre-inspired five minute stretch in the third quarter to put the lead into double-digits for good.

Atlanta played hard and made some shots early, but the writing was on the wall all game. The Suns are just too good right now to lose to Atlanta without half dozen of their players.

Devin Booker was excellent through three quarters himself (27 points and 7 assists after three), and Dario Saric had a great game with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky chipped in 19 points and 6 rebounds. Cam Johnson scored 12 and grabbed 4 rebounds.

But the player of the game was Kelly Oubre Jr.

Oubre acquitted himself very well after a bad game against the Lakers. He was the Suns spark, and scored 30 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 3 assists.

Suns win easily, 128-112.


This 7-4 start is the Suns best record after 11 games in a decade. A DECADE.


Starters

Suns (the usual): Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Dario Saric and Aron Baynes

Hawks: Trae Young, Cam Reddish, Damian Jones, Jabari Parker, De’Andre Hunter

First quarter

Suns started slow, missing their first three three-pointers, three ill-advised lobs and back court turnover. Meanwhile the Hawks made enough shots to take an 11-6 lead before three minutes had passed.

When it hit 15-8 Hawks and the Suns playing extremely shaky on offense, coach Monty Williams finally took a timeout. This is definitely not the same Suns team that we’ve seen the past few weeks.

Damian Jones got his fourth dunk with just over six minutes left, while the Suns threw their fourth awful lob into the paint to commit a turnover. Hawks up 18-10.

Devin Booker was the first to be subbed out for the Suns, for Tyler Johnson, after collecting his second foul in only four minutes. Then Frank Kaminsky for Baynes. But no one was playing well.

This might be what Monty Williams wanted to do in the huddle to wake up his players...

Finally, the Suns found a bit of spark from the bench, starting when Frank Kaminsky drained his first three, and then Mikal Bridges made one to pull the Suns to 23-21 from an 11-2 run to force an Atlanta timeout.

The Suns tied it on a Frank finger roll and then took the lead on Cam Johnson free throws. The lead changed several times after that, culminating in a long three by Jabari Parker at the buzzer to put the Hawks up 33-31.

Hawks shot 55% in that first quarter. This is the 24th ranked offense in the league.

Second Quarter

Alex Len has decided to take over at this point, to show the booing fans he’s a good player. He missed a three, but then powered his way to the hoop on Baynes for a dunk and a primal scream, then powered into Baynes again for free throws. Len left the floor with 7 points and 4 rebounds in 8 minutes. Good work, Alex. (but I’m praying for you)

The Suns built a lead, but threes by Parker and Young popped up and then Trae Young did Ricky dirty on a tea bag dribble into a floater to draw Baynes second foul.

The Hawks built a 46-41 lead that evaporated in seconds on a Frank three and Oubre breakaway layup. Back to 46-46.

The Suns started to pull away at that point on some threes (which they seem content to win this game by, rather than boxing out for rebounds). With their 9th three of the half, they took a 55-50 lead.

There’s some national guys here who won’t be impressed with the Suns on this first half. The Suns are a step slow, playing weak under the boards (out-rebounded 27-14 right now). Sam Amick, Dan Woike and Jonathan Wasserman were all credentialed.

Booker decided he was going to cancel out Trae Young’s contributions in the half, as much as he could without having the ball on 100% of possessions anyway.

At half:

  • Booker: 19 points (6-11, 3-5), 3 assists, but 4 turnovers
  • Young: 17 points (5-12, 1-4), 6 assists, 2 turnovers

Other Suns:

  • Saric and Oubre each had 12 points (5-8 shooting) and 3 rebounds and 1 assist
  • Cam Johnson had 8 points (2-4 on threes)
  • Frank Kaminsky had 7 points and 4 rebounds
  • Rubio had 4 points (1-6) and 6 assists

Other Hawks: Len finished the half with 10 and 4, Jabari Parker had 13 and center Damian Jones had 12 points on 6 catch-and-dunks right at the rim off bad Suns pick and roll defense.

Second half

Let’s see if the Suns can even up the rebounding numbers. Atlanta is just 27th in the league in rebounds, so they should NOT be leading 28-17 on that front.

Let’s check on the locker room (yes, I love this video)

I feel like Aron Baynes just doesn’t have the juice in this game after taking a couple charges into the nuts in the first half. He seems a bit sluggish on the move.

This is definitely the Alex Len revenge game, He’s hearing the boos, I think, and is trying his dern-hardest to bully the Suns underneath. He’s tall, and somewhat mobile. So okay. Good on you Alex. 14 points and 6 rebounds in 14 minutes now.

The Suns pulled out to a 96-81 lead in the third, looking good again with some great energy. The crowd really got into the game — so fun to see! — to help the team pick up their energy level, with a lot of help from Kelly Oubre Jr. being his self again. Booker got up to 27 and Oubre to 20.

Atlanta kept playing hard though, and when the Suns missed four straight free throws they almost pulled within single digits, but Tyler Johnson got a steal, Cam Johnson pushed it ahead to Kelly Oubre... who made a buzzer-beating three to put the Suns up 104-90 after three.

Fourth Quarter

Okay can the Suns close this out pretty quickly, or will Atlanta keep this within 10-15 — or less — to force the Suns starters back in.

Isn’t that cool? Wondering if the Suns starters will have to come back in at all in the fourth?

As it happened, Kelly and the benchies got the lead up to 19 within 3 minutes, 113-94, but Rubio came back in anyway when Tyler Johnson messed up a few possessions in a row even though the Suns were up big.

Aaaannnd, the Suns lost their edge again. They missed a few threes while Atlanta went on a 6-0 run to force Monty to call timeout.

By four minutes left in the quarter, the Suns had gone 1-8 on threes but still with a 12-point lead and the ball after an offensive foul drawn by Baynes. Man, that guy looks Tormund on a battlefield right now after fighting off a dozen white walkers.