NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 1st
(All times Eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (33-23) at Phoenix Suns (20-39), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks will take a four-game winning streak into
Phoenix on Friday night when they continue their road trip against the Suns in
US Airways Center.
The Hawks are 3-0 to start their six-game sojourn across the plains of
America. They won in Milwaukee, Detroit, then took the first of four out west
with a 102-91 victory in Utah over the Jazz Wednesday.
Al Horford and Josh Smith were monsters against the Jazz, who boast one of the
best frontlines in basketball. Horford had a career-high 34 points, 15
rebounds and five blocked shots, while Smith added 24 points, 14 boards and
"We just kept digging, kept playing hard," said Smith.
Smith is just 33 points shy of 10,000 for his career. He could become the 24th
player in NBA history to amass 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists
and 1,000 blocked shots.
The Hawks have won five straight on the road and still have games with the Los
Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets before returning to Georgia. They probably
aren't in much of a hurry.
"I do sense the attitude of the players, I think it's at an all-time high,"
said head coach Larry Drew. "I can see guys are really coming together. I
sense they're itching to get back on the court. They're having fun."
The Suns are riding pretty high at the moment. They've won two in a row for
the first time since mid-January and both came in overtime.
Phoenix beat the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, 84-83, on Tuesday, then
stunned the NBA when they went to San Antonio and beat the Spurs, owners of
the best home record in the league, 105-101.
"We're obviously not in the playoff run, but it's about trying to be a better
team," said veteran Jermaine O'Neal. "Games like these are what build
character and put us in the right direction. That's what we're trying to do."
O'Neal rebounded a missed free-throw from Manu Ginobili with less than four
seconds on the clock. He threw a dart down court to Wesley Johnson, who
drained the tying 3-pointer.
Phoenix only made two field goals in the extra session, but that was two more
than the Spurs, who went 0-for-10 from the field in overtime.
O'Neal led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Luis Scola had 15 points in
under 20 minutes and Marcin Gortat pulled down 15 boards. Goran Dragic had a
double-double with 13 points and 13 assists.
The Suns have won seven of the last nine meetings with the Hawks and Atlanta
is just 2-6 in the desert over its last eight.
03/01 10:27:13 ET