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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Wednesday, February 23rd (All times eastern)

Atlanta Hawks (34-22) at Phoenix Suns (27-27), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns hope to continue their recent dominance over the Atlanta Hawks in the desert when the two teams square off this evening at US Airways Center.

The Suns, who have won 15 of their last 17 games against Atlanta in Phoenix, entered the All-Star break on a losing note after falling to red-hot Dallas, 112-106, in Big D last Thursday.

Channing Frye led the Suns with 24 points and eight rebounds in that one, while Vince Carter added 16 points and Steve Nash secured his sixth straight double-double and 33rd of the season with 15 points and 14 assists.

"At the end of the day, they made the plays down the stretch and we didn't quite make them," said Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry. "We had shots that could have closed the gap and they didn't quite get in the basket."

The Suns, who dropped two of three entering the break, are 2 1/2 games behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Atlanta, meanwhile, returned from the All-Star break in Los Angeles on Tuesday and were routed by the defending champions, 104-80.

Joe Johnson, an ex-Suns star, finished with 14 points for the Hawks, who have lost four of five overall and are 1-2 on a seven-game road trip. Al Horford chipped in 13 points and six boards for Atlanta, which got 12 points from Jamal Crawford.

"They took over," Horford said. "They dominated both ends. We really have some soul-searching to do as a team. It's discouraging. We had a great practice yesterday, and to come out like that, it's frustrating."

The Hawks have dropped five of six overall to the Suns.

02/23 10:56:28 ET

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