Suns Playoff Chances Setting Fast
Updated: Jun 30, 2018
On Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Phoenix Suns 96-69. With this 58th victory, Atlanta set the new franchise record for wins in a single season (previously 57 in 1986-87 and 1993-94).
They did so without leading scorer and rebounder Paul Millsap, who sat out the game with an injury. Millsap suffered a right shoulder sprain in a collision with Earl Clark during Saturday's 131-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
With the NBA playoffs on the horizon, the Hawks are focusing on staying healthy. They maintained a good balance between resting and making sure they stay in a rhythm. This win doesn’t significantly affect the Hawks, who have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and secured homecourt advantage all the way through the playoffs. Golden State has home court throughout. Hawks will not have home court if they reach the NBA Finals and face Golden State.
Unlike the Hawks (57-19), the Suns (38-37) entered this game in 10th place in the Western Conference, putting them on the brink of playoff elimination. With the toughest remaining schedule overall of teams still in the race, Phoenix desperately needed this win to even have a shot at making the playoffs. This loss hurt the team’s playoff hopes.
After the Suns scored the first basket, the Hawks had an 8-0 run in the first period and did not surrender their lead for the remainder of the game.
Mike Muscala, making his fourth start of the season, started for Millsap. Muscala had a big night off the bench with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks. Along with Muscala, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague stepped up as leading scorers for the Hawks also having made 16 points each.
It was Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder’s first game back after resting a sprained left toe for two games. His rusty performance was visible, as he committed three turnovers in the first half. He played 15 minutes and had six points and four assists.
Even Suns’ leading scorer Eric Bledsoe, who averages 17.2 points per game, couldn’t save the team. He was only able to score nine points for the Suns before being ejected from the game with five minutes left in the third period after drawing his second technical foul of the night.
Phoenix had a horrible shooting night on 3-pointers and field goals. Their 3-point percentage was 20 and their field-goal percentage was 31. The Suns were out-scored 21-5 to start the fourth period, and the game turned into a blowout.
The Hawks had a good shooting night overall with 49 percent from the field, but only made 16 percent from the 3-point line.
The Hawks will take on the Brooklyn Nets once again at the Barclays Center in New York tomorrow at 7:30 pm.