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Game Preview: Suns seek 12th straight win, visit Trae Young’s Hawks

Phoenix will march into Atlanta looking to keep the winning streak alive.

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

What: Phoenix Suns (41-9) @ Atlanta Hawks (24-26)

When: 5:30 p.m. AZ time

Where: State Farm Arena — Atlanta, Georgia

Watch: TNT, Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM


The Phoenix Suns are on an 11-game win streak. They are 14-1 in the year 2022. They hold the best road record in the NBA at 19-4, and of course, lead the NBA at 41-9

What stands in their way of securing their 12th straight victory? His name is Trae Young and he’s been an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging 27.7 PPG (5th in NBA) to go with 9.3 APG (3rd in NBA) on 45% shooting from the field.

Well... that is if he even suits up. Trae is considered a game-time decision according to Head Coach Nate McMillan. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury and didn’t go through the contact portion of Tuesday’s practice after sitting out on Monday night against the Raptors.

The first time these two squads met back in early November, the Suns pulled off a massive comeback victory by the count of 121-to-117. They outscored the Hawks 35-to-19 in the 4th quarter led by 38 points from star guard Devin Booker.

Projected Starters

Phoenix

  • Chris Paul
  • Devin Booker
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Jae Crowder
  • Deandre Ayton

Atlanta

  • Trae Young*
  • Kevin Huerter
  • De’Andre Hunter
  • John Collins
  • Clint Capela

*Game-time decision

Injury Report

Phoenix

  • Cam Payne — OUT
  • Landry Shamet — OUT
  • Frank Kaminsky — OUT
  • Dario Saric — OUT

Atlanta

  • Trae Young — Game-Time Decision
  • De’Andre Hunter — Probable

What to Watch

  • 1st Quarter Book

Devin Booker leads all NBA players in 1st quarter points this season, with 383 total. The next closest to him is Karl Anthony-Towns at 339.

At this point, everyone knows Devin Booker loves the first quarter. He’s been the best in the association at getting off to a hot start this season, so now the question for Atlanta will be... who’s going to stop him?

That’s a question I’m glad to be on the other side of. Good luck, Atlanta.

  • Closeout hard on the shooters

It’s no secret that defending the three-point line against Atlanta is important. Trae Young’s gravity is where that all starts, but it spreads throughout with a combination of excellent spot-up shooters and streaky shooters as well.

Atalanta is third in the league in three-point percent at 37.7% as a team, which is quite remarkable. Phoenix is right there with them at 36.6% sitting in 5th place in the NBA, so I guess you could say the same for Atlanta. Whichever team defends the three better will likely come out on top, plain and simple.

  • The Twins’ Aggression

Mikal Bridges has had back-to-back 25+ point outings and Cam Johnson is playing the best basketball of his young career. The aggressive nature of these two on the offensive end has been thrilling.

Cam Johnson is shooting 43.3% from three on nearly 6 attempts per game. He needs to be in the NBA 3 Point Contest along with Devin Booker, no excuses. Since both Payne and Shamet are out and there will be a ton of Elfrid Payton, Phoenix will need these two to pick up the lack of scoring off the bench and provide buckets off their own creation.


Prediction

Even though on last week’s Solar Panel episode I picked them to lose this game, I’ll reverse that pick and say the Suns take this one. 12 straight wins coming right up, but Atlanta won’t make it easy.

Suns win 115-109.