The Atlanta Hawks shot 52% from three point range on 12 of 23 attempts to beat the Phoenix Suns at Philips Arena in Atlanta in front of 14,282 fans on Friday night. Al Horford and Josh Smith added more than 30 points from the inside to sweep the Suns aside.
Hawks fans were worried coming into the game against the Suns that the team might suffer from an emotional hangover after beating the Lakers Wednesday night in an tense encounter. And it was true, for most of the first half, the Hawks were a little lackluster; fortunately they were playing Phoenix whose road record is 7-27 so while the game was tight the Hawks were allowed to play themselves into the game without falling behind.
All five starters for Atlanta scored in double points with Josh Smith leading the way with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
Hawks coach Larry Drew hoped Smith could reach the triple double milestone, but some late misses prevented Smith registering his first triple double in almost three years. "It's OK." Smith said, "I'll take the win over the triple-double any day."
Horford also had a double double with 16 points and 11 assists. Kyle Korver added 16 points on 4 of 5 shooting from three point range. His three point shooting spree means he has now gone 58 games straight making at least one shot from beyond the three point arc - the longest streak in the NBA since Peja Stojakovic made a three in 62 straight games.
The key to Atlanta's success was its ability to break from defensive positions with some great passing. Kyle Korver said, "We passed the ball really well . . . we had a lot of fast break points in the first half. That's the way we really want to play. That's when we're at our best. That's when our weapons are being used to their best potential."
The Suns Goran Dragic led all scorers with 21 points but his efforts went unrewarded as Phoenix shot 3 of 19 from three point range.
"They have great players in the low post, Smith and Horford," Dragic said. "A lot of times when Josh Smith had the ball, we tried to bring the guy from the other side. He's a great passer, he found open guys and we were too late. Especially when the weak side is Korver. He's a great shooter. And they were making shots."
Up next for the Suns, their road trip continues with a game against Washington before returning home to take on the Lakers on Monday. The Hawks go to Brooklyn Sunday and then play against Dallas on Monday back at the Highlight Factory.