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Final Score: Suns down Hawks in thriller, 121-117

Suns play their most complete game of the year over a good Hawks team that looked like they had this one.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns found themselves down 12 points to the Atlanta Hawks, 100-88, early in the fourth quarter and were still down 9 points with 7.5 minutes left, but finished the game with a 24-11 run to win their fourth game in a row.

The game looked dire for a while there when Trae Young brought back Steve Nash memories and the Hawks couldn’t miss on threes, but the Suns really clamped down the defense in the 4th to seal the win.

Devin Booker had his best game of the season with 38 points on 14-21 shooting, along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists to win the game ball.

“Every time he shoot it, I think it’s going in,” Chris Paul said confidently after the game.

Chris Paul was steady and led the fourth quarter charge, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

And with Deandre Ayton out again (knee), the Suns needed a big game from Frank Kaminsky and that’s exactly what they got. Frank scored 14 first-half points when the Suns were struggling and finished with a 16/6/4/1 line. Landry Shamet had 16 points off the bench.

“I’m not the most athletic guy in the world,” Frank said afterward. “I don’t think that’s a secret. But I’ve always been able to affect the game with my mind.”

“Every time,” Chris Paul said of Frank, about being in the right place at the right time. Kaminsky was instrumental in helping the Suns offense run well — he finished the rolls when open, and swing the ball side to side when the Hawks began to sink into the paint.

The Suns overcame Trae Young’s 31 points and 13 assists, forcing him into 6 turnovers and bottled him up with Mikal Bridges in the 4th quarter.

“We collectively have been slowly building and building, knowing that this is a work in progress,” Landry Shamet said of the game.

Suns win, and are now 5-3 on the season.

Starters/Injury Report

Suns

  • Chris Paul
  • Devin Booker
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Jae Crowder
  • JaVale McGee

Out: Deandre Ayton, Dario Šarić

Hawks

  • Trae Young
  • Bogdan Bogdanović
  • De’Andre Hunter
  • John Collins
  • Clint Capela

Out: Onyeka Okongwu

Game Flow

The Hawks get the tip, and within a minute Trae Young has splashed his first step-back three. The Suns open the game with three straight missed threes before Book gets a bucket. Unfortunately, it looks like JaVale has been poked in the eye and has to come out and head to the locker room. In comes The Tank.

Frank’s impact is felt immediately. He hits book in the corner for a three, then Devin finds him the following possession for a trey of his own. Shortly after, Mikal makes a perfect cut and Frank finds him for an easy deuce. After a Hawks miss, Frank kicks a deflected pass to Mikal, who swings to Jae for three. Shazam! Suns up 13-7 four minutes in.

Plenty of missed Suns threes and Hawks turnovers in the early going. The Suns are using their length to disrupt Atlanta’s passing lanes.

Aided by some Bogi makes and the Trae/John Collins pick-and-roll, the Hawks cut it to 15-13.

4:43 left in the quarter, and The Footprint Center is ecstatic to see cam Payne check in.

Somehow Trae gets switched onto Frank outside. Frank takes him to the rack and finishes through contact. Hawks fans think he’s the second coming of Bob Pettit.

JaVale checks back in with the Suns up 17-15. Good to see him back on the court, though his eye got poked pretty bad.

Devin is cooking early on, and it looks like it could be one of those nights. Things feel great after back-to-back steals turn into Cam Johnson finishes. On one play he sent a reaching Trae into the seats, and on the next he throws down a thunderous jam. Suns up 23-19.

Gorgui Dieng has checked into the game for Atlanta, someone block the tunnel entrances.

A wild (and disappointing) finish to the quarter sees Gallo sink a heave from beyond half court. Despite the Suns solid play, the Hawks are up 26-25.

Landry Shamet cans a three to start the second quarter. He is looking more comfortable by the night.

Lou Will checks in for the Hawks, and predictably gets downhill to his right before burying a tough floater. He’s 1000 in basketball years and that move is still unguardable.

The Hawks are causing a bunch of problems for the Suns on the offensive glass.

Frank hits back-to-back buckets, a CP3 gift-wrapped three and a floater, to grab the lead for the Suns. 35-33 with 8:28 left in the half.

For a second, it looked like Cam Reddish was trying to hand Frank an obituary. Kaminsky bounced back strong though, getting a bucket on a Dumbledorian dish from Chris Paul.

The Hawks and Suns are trading buckets. Even when the Hawks miss, they are there for easy putbacks. John Collins is rolling and the Suns still cannot hit a three.

Though the Hawks are answering, Book is in a special rhythm. First a three, then a tough finish in the lane. On the next possession, he let it fly with his foot on the line (which of course he sunk). After a Trae missile and some Jae free throws, the Suns are up 50-47 with 3:30 left in the half.

The Hawks are closing the half with a flurry. A couple Bogi threes and some free throws has them up 56-52.

Chris Paul decides to break out a new move, and gets Trae to reach on the rip through. Seriously. How does he manage to do it every game? CP3 hits both free throws.

After another insane three from Book and free throws from Young, the Suns head into the half up 59-58.

Second Half

More of the same to start the second half. Book is on a roll, the Suns are struggling to make threes, and the Hawks are still attacking the offensive glass.

Trae Young is starting to take over in the second quarter, and the Suns are having real trouble containing his shot-making and facilitating out of the pick-and-roll.

It is good to see the Suns get out in transition so much tonight. Shortly after a dunk by Mikal, Devin sinks a jumper just inside the elbow to give the Suns the lead at 80-78 with 4:37 left in the quarter.

More transition opportunities for the Suns, but Trae Young and friends are absolutely scorching from three. I believe K Ray just commented that they are shooting 50% on the night.

Suns struggled to finish out the third quarter. With no CP3 or Book to create, buckets were tough to come by. Trae continued cooking, and the Hawks are gang rebounding. As nice as it has been to see Cam Payne back with the team, his minutes have been a bit rough tonight. Hawks up 95-86 going into the fourth.

Watching Gallo hit these shots is giving me nightmares of his Clipper days. Thankfully, we have our own former Clipper sharpshooter in Landry Shamet. Shazamet! Nine-point game with 10:23 left.

Turnovers are impeding the Suns chance at a comeback. I believe we will be seeing Book back in soon.

Chris Paul has decided that it is Chris Paul time. Some masterful pocket passes and trickery from the midrange (plus a three!). His game may not be overpowering, but make no mistake that CP3 subtly dominates on a nightly basis. Three-point game with 5:33 left after some Landry free throws

Trae Young is back to toying with us in the pick-and-roll, but a Book 3 keeps the game tight!

Chris Paul fouled De’Andre Hunter at least six different times, but none are called and the Suns get a stop. That is all that matters. Also, Frank executes his best Kevin Love-guarding-Steph impression on Trae and forces a miss. Book comes down, and with his foot on the line you already know the shot was money! Tied game with two minutes left.

After a wonderful stop (what a block by Jae on Trae), Frank is called for a travel looking for an outlet. One of his few down moments of the night. Bogi hits a tough mid-range shot snaking off the ball-screen, but Book get one of those points back on a free throw.

Frank Kaminsky slander will not be tolerated. A patient Mikal finds Reign Man 2.0 for a thunderous jam down the lane! Suns up one with 36 seconds left.

Suns force a Trae Young miss. Paul to Book to Jae for a layup! THE SQUAD IS EN FUEGO!!!

After a Bogi airball on the next possession, the Hawks are cooked. It will be in Paul or Book’s hands to close out the game on free throws... SUNS WIN!!!!!!! 121-117


Up Next: Sacramento Kings, on Monday, in Sac town.