The Atlanta Hawks are on the road to face the Phoenix Suns in an East vs. West contest. The Phoenix Suns are currently the No. 2 team in the Western Conference and are arguably playing the best basketball in the league over the last two months.
This is a rescheduled game between the two teams who were supposed to play in mid-January. It was postponed due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
After winning eight straight games once interim head coach Nate McMillian took over, the Hawks have lost three of their last four. In their previous outing, they were beaten by the Denver Nuggets.
It was their second straight loss resulting in a blowout. The recent struggles have dropped the Hawks down to the sixth spot in the standings.
Atlanta Hawks Preview
Atlanta comes into this game at 23-23 and are forcing the issue to be in that 4-5 range in the conference. A win against the Suns would be a huge step and help get them back on the right track in helping with confidence.
Trae Young is the engine for the Hawks, but John Collins is the player that will decide how far this team goes the rest of the season. Collins is averaging 14.7 points per game over the team’s recent struggles and taking only two three-point attempts per game.
The young star will have to find a way to get himself involved in games and get back to being the player the Hawks need to help them win games.
Collins is not a top defensive player at his position, but he is solid enough as a shot-blocker to impact games. When he is engaged defensively and contributing on the offensive end, the Hawks are a team that is tough to beat. If he can play a complete game, they could cause some problems for the Suns.
Phoenix Suns Preview
The Chris Paul effect is a real thing as it’s hard to argue anyone is playing better than the Phoenix Suns over the last couple of months. This group is steam-rolling opponents on a nightly basis. Phoenix is third in defensive rating (108.0) and eighth in offensive rating (114.4) and are genuine title contenders.
Devin Booker has been one of the more elite shooting guards in the game in recent years, but finally having a winning team has put his name in the spotlight. The Suns’ guard has taken a dip in numbers to sacrifice for his team to add W’s but still poses a matchup problem for Atlanta. He went off for 35 points in their latest win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Deandre Ayton has become a force in the paint this season, and his growth can be attributed to the arrival of Paul. His offensive numbers have fallen this season, but the Suns’ decision to spread the ball around and not playing their starters as many minutes has led to this.
Over the last five games, Ayton has put up 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds while shooting 68.3% from the field and 93.8% from the free-throw line. When he is engaged offensively, this team is as complete as it gets, having all the right players to win a championship.
Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Betting Lines & Odds
The Phoenix Suns are six-point home favorites. The Hawks are playing away from home for their sixth straight game. The losses continue to pile up during their road stretch, but Young and the team hope to change their fortunes in this game.
The Suns have won 23 of their last 29 games dating back to January. Paul and Young are an intriguing matchup. Paul will need some help guarding the speedy Young, but the Suns are capable of switching to take pressure off of Paul.
Phoenix comes away with a win, but the Hawks will keep this game close and interesting throughout.
Free Betting Pick: Phoenix Suns -6