National Basketball Association
Suns-Hawks Preview
National Basketball Association

Suns-Hawks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:48 p.m. ET

After their momentum was halted by back-to-back losses to the Eastern Conference's top teams, the Atlanta Hawks are looking to regroup in what appears to be a less-challenging matchup.

However, nothing came easy when they last faced the lowly Phoenix Suns.

Kent Bazemore says he'll play Tuesday night when the host Hawks try resume their push for the third seed and avoid their longest skid in six weeks.

X-rays were negative after Bazemore suffered a left wrist injury in Friday's 110-108 overtime home loss to Cleveland. The starting forward, who finished with seven points and 12 rebounds, said he's sore but won't miss any playing time.


Atlanta soared into the third spot with a 14-3 surge but slid back into a tie with Boston for that seed with Wednesday's 105-97 loss at second-place Toronto and Friday's defeat, in which the club's rally from a 21-point deficit fell short.

''Obviously, those games kind of gauge where you're at and we lost them both,'' said guard Kyle Korver, who had 14 points and four 3-pointers against the Cavaliers.

Among four teams separated by a half-game between third and sixth place, Atlanta (45-32) has an opportunity to regain sole possession of third Tuesday before taking on the Raptors, Celtics and Cavaliers in its next three.

Finishing third could be crucial since the Hawks wouldn't have to face a Cleveland team that has beaten them six straight times - including last postseason - until a potential conference finals rematch.

Atlanta, which hasn't lost three in a row since Feb. 19-22, also has a half-game lead over Miami and Charlotte in the Southeast as it tries to win back-to-back division titles for the first time since a four-year run from 1957-61, when the team played in St. Louis.

After totaling 18 points in his previous two games, Paul Millsap bounced back to score a season-high 29 on Friday. He did not play Jan. 23, when Archie Goodwin finished with 24 and made a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to give Phoenix a 98-95 victory.

Atlanta will have to keep the Suns (20-57) off the glass in this contest after they held a 52-43 rebounding advantage in the first meeting. Tyson Chandler pulled down a franchise record-tying 27 boards, while Alex Len had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Chandler had 21 points and 18 boards in Phoenix's sixth consecutive defeat Sunday, 101-86 to visiting Utah. He's averaged 15 points and 15.3 rebounds in posting three consecutive double-doubles and has averaged 23 boards in his last three against Atlanta.

"It's about going out there and getting better," Chandler said.

Mirza Teletovic has provided a spark for the banged-up Suns by averaging 18.8 points in his last six games. Brandon Knight has been ruled out for the season due to a sports hernia, while Jon Leuer is likely to miss his third straight due to a right ankle sprain.

''I can't live with myself putting our players at risk for further injury just to secure a job,'' interim coach Earl Watson said.

Atlanta's Jeff Teague has heated up by averaging 24 points in his last three games, but he's averaged 11 and 35.9 percent shooting in his past three against Phoenix.


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