The Phoenix Suns did not play good basketball tonight. We could go in-depth on why, but to put it in simple terms: the Hawks brought it and the Suns did not.
As Eddie Johnson said on the broadcast: “The NBA season is an 82-game marathon. Nights like this happen.”
Phoenix drops to 27-26 on the season, with a 4-2 record since Chris Paul’s return from injury. Tonight Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton showed up to play, but unfortunately no one else did for the Suns. The bench unit was nonexistent.
The Hawks shot 57.6% (19-33) from three-point range and outscored the Suns' bench by a healthy margin throughout.
Mikal Bridges — 23 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds on 6-18 FG (10-10 FT)
Deandre Ayton — 20 points, 9 rebounds on 9/12 FG.
Trae Young — 20 points, 12 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal on 8-17 FG
Dejounte Murray — 21 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds on 8-13 FG
The Hawks jumped ahead to an early 16-8 lead behind hot shooting from deep, going 3-for-4 from three-point land. The early deficit led to a Phoenix timeout with 6:31 remaining in the 1st.
Mikal Bridges continued his confident play early, displaying confidence off the dribble and in transition.
Mikal showing off the moves pic.twitter.com/0fZIjektnh— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 2, 2023
After a rapid offensive start for Atlanta, the Suns’ defense settled in and held them to just 26 points in what looked like it would be an easy 30-plus point quarter for the Hawks.
Bridges led all scorers with 10 points after the first quarter as the Suns trailed 26-23.
Atlanta opened the 2nd on a quick 7-0 run to jump ahead by ten coming out of the break. A Cam Johnson three-point play got Phoenix out of their offensive lull momentarily.
Cam-One.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 2, 2023
The foul and the finish for Cam Johnson. pic.twitter.com/HCbjBkS6Ch
The Hawks’ offense was having a field day in the early stages of the 2nd quarter, building their lead up to 22 (48-26) with 7:20 left in the half. 23 of those first 48 points came of the bench for Atlanta.
Phoenix’s offense was sputtering, missing point-blank looks that would rim out or open shots from deep. Nothing was falling for the Suns and it piled up, fast.
The Hawks’ bench stepped up, while the Suns' bench was nonexistent in the first half.
At the half...— Zona (@ZonaHoops_) February 2, 2023
Suns bench: 4 points (2-11 FG)
Hawks bench: 23 points (9-15 FG)
Atlanta led it 66-47 at the half. Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton combined for 32 points while the rest of the Suns had just 15 points on 6-25 shooting.
The start of the second half was very similar to how the 2nd quarter went.. it was once again all Atlanta.
Just about everything that could go wrong did. Lack of focus, execution, and the inability to hit open shots doomed the Suns and allowed Atlanta to pile the lead on.
Atlanta led 102-67 after three quarters of action.
End of 3Q: ATL 102, PHX 67— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) February 2, 2023
Bridges: 23 Pts, 7 Ast, 5 Reb, 6-18 FG
Ayton: 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 9-12 FG
Craig: 7 Pts, 8 Reb
Young: 20 Pts, 12 Ast, 8-17 FG
PHX: 3-22 3P; ATL: 15-25 3P
The fourth quarter was not much better for the Suns. They did show some life toward the end of the quarter, but the game was well out of hand by then.
Atlanta led by as many as 43 points.
It was just an ugly all-around game and one that the Suns will need to push to the rearview window and move on from. Having a short-term memory heading into Boston will be key.
Star of the Night
Chick-fil-A — Fed thousands of disappointed fans after two missed FTs by Dejounte Murray.
A free @ChickfilA chicken sandwich to all in attendance tonight! pic.twitter.com/u6NkjpLR9x— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 2, 2023
The Suns travel to Boston to take on the Celtics on Friday with a 5 pm AZ tip-off time.