The Atlanta Hawks will be on the road to face the Phoenix Suns, the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, on Tuesday at Phoenix Suns Arena. This game is a rescheduled matchup between the two teams who were supposed to meet in mid-January. The game was postponed due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
After winning their first eight games since interim coach Nate McMillan took over, the Atlanta Hawks have lost three of their last four outings. Their last game was a 126-102 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, the second straight time they were at the wrong end of a blowout.
The Phoenix Suns have won five of their last six games, and 23 of their last 29 since Jan. 27 when they lost three straight. As much as Chris Paul and Devin Booker have been getting the lion’s share of the limelight when it comes to their success, Deandre Ayton should be right alongside them, especially in the last few games. He’s a major reason they are title contenders this year.
Fixture - Atlanta Hawks vs Phoenix Suns | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Tuesday, March 30th, 10:00 PM ET (Wednesday, March 31st, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue - Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Atlanta Hawks Preview
The Atlanta Hawks' recent struggles have been down to their work on the defensive end, where they surrendered an average of 118.3 points a night in the three setbacks. That’s a stark contrast to their nine wins the past month, where they gave up just 100.2 points a game. Their offense has been an issue as well but giving up too many points to their opponents has been their death knell.
The Trae Young-John Collins combo continues to be one of the best young tandems in the league. The two players are still figuring out how to play off of one another consistently and their performance as a duo will determine how far the Atlanta Hawks can go this season.
At 23-23, the Atlanta Hawks are in sixth place and are within arms reach of the fifth placed New York Knicks. A win against the Phoenix Suns would be a huge step, not just in the standings but also in their confidence.
Key Player - John Collins
Trae Young makes this Atlanta Hawks team go, but it is arguably the play of John Collins that is the barometer for how well they perform. In the three aforementioned losses, the 6-foot-9 power forward underperformed by scoring just 14.7 points a game. He’s taking 3.4 attempts from the 3-point arc this season, but in the three losses, he attempted just two each time.
The Atlanta Hawks forward took five shots and made four of them en route to a 38-point, 12-rebound monster performance that overwhelmed the Golden State Warriors on Friday, giving the team their lone win last week.
Collins’ defense, while not in the top-tier of forwards, is respectable enough that he’s able to help his teammates from the weak side as a shot blocker. When he is engaged defensively and contributing his usual offensive numbers, the Atlanta Hawks can be a handful. He can give the Phoenix Suns something to worry about on both ends of the floor.
Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Trae Young l Shooting Guard - Bogdan Bogdanovic l Small Forward - Tony Snell Power Forward - John Collins l Center - Clint Capela
Phoenix Suns Preview
Is there a hotter team in the league over the past two months than the Phoenix Suns? There’s no pun intended in that question as the Chris Paul-led squad has been playing like juggernauts, steamrolling through opponents on a nightly basis. They are third in defensive rating (108.0) and eighth in offensive rating (114.4) this season, making them a legitimate title contender.
Devin Booker has always been in the upper echelon of shooting guards in recent seasons but winning has put his name in the spotlight. The Phoenix Suns guard will be a matchup problem for the Atlanta Hawks. He lit up the Charlotte Hornets for 35 points in a 101-97 overtime win on Sunday.
Key Player - Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton is becoming a true force to be reckoned with in the paint. Though his offensive numbers have fallen this season, that can be explained by the Phoenix Suns’ decision to spread the wealth around and playing the big man fewer minutes than in previous years.
But the 6-foot-11 Arizona product has been a beast in the last five games, putting up 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds while shooting 68.3 percent from the field and 93.8 percent from the line. When he’s involved offensively, Ayton makes the Phoenix Suns a complete team capable of beating opponents both inside and out.
The Atlanta Hawks will counter Ayton’s size with Clint Capela, whose defensive presence could provide a stiff challenge for the Phoenix Suns center.
Phoenix Suns Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Chris Paul l Shooting Guard - Devin Booker l Small Forward - Mikal Bridges l Power Forward - Jae Crowder l Center - Deandre Ayton
Hawks vs Phoenix Suns Match Prediction
The road-weary Atlanta Hawks will play away from home for the sixth straight game when they face the Phoenix Suns. The losses have piled up during this stretch but Trae Young and crew hope to catch the home team off guard.
The most intriguing matchup is that of Chris Paul and Young, who represent the NBA’s past and future at the point guard position, respectively. Paul will need help in guarding the Atlanta Hawks’ speedy guard but there is arguably no team that has been as adaptable to mismatches as the Phoenix Suns.
Expect a Phoenix Suns win, but with the Atlanta Hawks presenting a bit of a problem.
Where to Watch Hawks vs Suns?
The game between the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks will be shown locally by FOX Sports Southeast Atlanta and FOX Sports Arizona. For international audiences, the game is available for viewing via livestream on NBA League Pass.