Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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NBA Preview: Phoenix Suns (30-26) at Atlanta Hawks (27-28)

The Atlanta Hawks handed the Phoenix Suns their worst loss of the season when the teams met last week in Arizona.

The Suns will look to exact a bit of revenge on Thursday when they continue their five-game road trip in Atlanta.

Phoenix answered its 132-100 shellacking at the hands of the Hawks on Feb. 1 by winning its first three games of this trek.

Deandre Ayton followed up his 31-point, 16-rebound performance in the Suns’ 116-100 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday with a career high-tying 35 points while again collecting 16 boards in a 116-112 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

Devin Booker contributed 19 points on Tuesday in his return from a 21-game absence due to a left groin strain.

All told, Phoenix has weathered the storm in Booker’s absence. The Suns lost nine of their first 11 games without the three-time All-Star before winning eight of 10 prior to his return on Tuesday.

The flow was emphatically stopped last week by the Hawks, who led by as many as 43 points in the third quarter. The Suns did themselves no favors by shooting a paltry 14.3 percent from 3-point range (4 of 28).

Dejounte Murray scored 21 points, Trae Young had 20 and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 off the bench to pace Atlanta in that contest.

The Hawks won their next contest before dropping the final two on their five-game road trip, including a 116-107 decision at New Orleans. Atlanta was outscored 58-46 during the middle two quarters, much to the chagrin of coach Nate MacMillan.

Bogdanovic made five 3-pointers to highlight his 22-point performance versus the Pelicans. The Serbian admitted he’s still working his way back into game shape after missing the first 24 contests to begin the season due to a knee injury.

Murray had 19 points and Young collected 16 points and 16 assists on Tuesday.

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