Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Suns, now on winning path, welcome Hawks

Field Level Media
01 Feb 2023, 12:19 GMT+10

The Phoenix Suns have rediscovered their form after a stretch in which they lost 12 of 14 games.

The now-hot Suns will attempt to win for the seventh time in eight games when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Phoenix has been without star guard Devin Booker for 21 of the past 22games, including the last 18, due to a groin injury.

Booker's absence led to the deep swoon, but the Suns dug their way out when the schedule hit a patch in which seven of eight are at home. The game against the Hawks concludes that stretch.

Phoenix notched wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies during the span, which also includes Monday's 114-106 home victory over the Toronto Raptors.

"We had those bumps and bruises when we were losing a lot, but the thing is adversity," Suns forward Mikal Bridges said. "We're all going to go through it. Every team is going to go through it and it's all what you're going to do.

"And when times get tough, what we do, we just stay with it. We stay the course of who we are and continue to win and get our guys back and stay hungry and stay trying to win."

Bridges led the way against Toronto with 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting. He made three 3-pointers and also had six assists and three steals.

It marked the second straight game and eighth in the past 11 that Bridges has exceeded 20 points.

Bridges, a fifth-year pro, has been a complementary player during his time as Booker's teammate. But he is averaging a career-best 16.8 points this season and sees the recent scoring splurge as something that is primarily associated with his self-belief.

"You make some, miss some, but if you just stay confident and take the shots and stuff that you work on, why not be confident on it?" Bridges said. "Just staying ready, just staying confident and I'm liking the shots that I'm taking."

Deandre Ayton (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Chris Paul (19 points, nine assists) also had strong outings against Toronto.

Atlanta has dropped four of its last five games and lost 129-125 to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night in the opener of a five-game road trip.

The Hawks played without star guard Trae Young (right ankle soreness) against Portland and he is listed as probable for Wednesday's game.

Young has recorded four straight double-doubles and five in his past six appearances. He also has scored 30 or more points in each of his past two games.

Dejounte Murray stepped up with Young out and tallied a career-best 40 points against Portland. He made 5 of 8 3-point shots and also had eight rebounds and seven assists in a strong performance.

Murray has scored 20 or more points in eight of the past nine games.

But the Hawks couldn't contain Damian Lillard (42 points) and the Trail Blazers made 54.4 percent of their shots, including 19 of 40 from behind the arc, while leading most of the contest.

"I thought they made plays most of the night, when we made runs, they made shots or got to the basket," Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. "We just couldn't get enough shots. We were able to eventually fight our way back into the game. But we ended up allowing them to score or get to the basket."

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. Atlanta has prevailed in six of the past nine matchups.

--Field Level Media

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