Suns’ prolific backcourt looking for scoring help vs. Hawks
PHOENIX — The starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker combined for 65 points in the Suns' most-recent outing, but that wasn't enough to prevent a loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The Suns (5-13) will be looking for contributions from elsewhere in the lineup as they take on the Atlanta Hawks (10-8) on Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Bledsoe had a career-high 35 points in the loss at Denver, earning praise from his teammates, but he wasn't satisfied with the end result.
“If the team's not going, I'm not going,” Bledsoe said. “If we're losing, it's my fault. I've got to be a better leader. And that's what I'm trying to do. “
Booker, who scored 30 in the Denver loss, thinks his backcourt mate doesn't get the credit he deserves. Bledsoe enters Wednesday's game averaging 19.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
“He's one of the most underrated point guards in the league for the things he does on both ends of the floor,” Booker said. “He rebounds, he passes, he scores. I feel like he does it all. Once we start getting wins, he'll be more recognized.”
Booker's 30-point game on Sunday was his fourth of the season and 10th of his young career. One of those was a 34-point outburst against the Hawks when the teams last met back in April — the second-best scoring night of his rookie season.
The Hawks' inside game will present a formidable challenge for the Suns. Paul Millsap is averaging a team-high 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds, and center Dwight Howard is contributing 14.4 points and 12.8 rebounds.
Atlanta is concluding a four-game road trip that has begun with three consecutive losses — including 27- and 15-point drubbings at the hands of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.
Hawks players held a no-coaches meeting in Los Angeles, and it apparently made a positive impact. They led at Golden State for the better part of three periods Monday night before falling just short at the end, 105-100.
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer applauded the players' meeting.
“If they want to talk and hammer some things out, that's usually a good thing,” he said.
Atlanta is 1-6 since getting off to a 9-2 start.
The Suns rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defense. Here's what Tyson Chandler says they must improve on, starting tonight vs. Hawks. pic.twitter.com/pgpmcUHFCG
— Chris Gabel (@Chris_Gabel) November 30, 2016
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 29, 2016