NBA regular season

Surging Suns hold off Hawks

Surging Suns hold off Hawks

YOUNG GUNS. Hawks' Trae Young and Suns' Devin Booker battle for a loose ball.

Photo by Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Suns close out strong against the Hawks to keep a hold of the No. 2 spot in the West

Jae Crowder’s four-point play with 23.4 seconds remaining helped the Phoenix Suns repel visiting Atlanta’s second-half comeback bid and secure a 117-110 win over the Hawks on Tuesday, March 30 (Wednesday, March 31, Manila time).

Crowder scored 19 points and made 5 three-pointers to prevent the Suns from blowing a 16-point advantage. 

The game was tied 105-105 with 3 minutes remaining before the Suns outscored the Hawks 12-5 the rest of the way, with Crowder’s triple and free throw the clinching points.

The Suns have won 3 straight and 6 of their past 7 games for a second-best record in the West at 32-14, behind the league-leading Utah Jazz (35-11). 

The Hawks have lost 2 straight and 4 of their past 5 to fall into a three-way tie at 6th place (23-24) with the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. 

Devin Booker led Phoenix with 21 points, and Dario Saric came off the bench to score 20 points, ending an eight-game stretch in which he was limited to single digits. 

Deandre Ayton had 13 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 2:06 left, and 14 rebounds for the Suns.

Atlanta was led by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 22 points and Trae Young with 19 points and 13 assists. Clint Capela had 16 points and 16 rebounds.

The Hawks played the second half without forward John Collins, who had 9 points and 4 rebounds before spraining his left ankle and leaving with 1:08 left in the first half. Collins stepped on Capela’s foot as he was grabbing a rebound.

The Suns raced out to a 21-11 lead, but the Hawks came back to tie the game at 27-27 on a three-pointer from Kevin Huerter late in the 1st quarter. That’s when Phoenix took control and went on an 18-2 run, taking a 45-29 lead on a triple from Saric with 8:30 left in the half. The Suns led 64-52 at halftime.

Despite the absence of Collins and with Young on the bench with 4 fouls, the Hawks pecked away at the deficit. They trailed 89-85 after 3 quarters but tied the game at 103-103 on a pair of free throws by Young with 3:31 left.

Phoenix continues its three-game homestand on Wednesday against Chicago. Atlanta plays the seventh game of its eight-game road trip on Thursday at San Antonio. –

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