• My Scores
  • NHL
  • NFL
  • NBA
  • Golf
  • NCAA BB
  • NCAA FB

Phoenix at Atlanta

Bledsoe, Suns defeat Hawks for fourth straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- Phoenix blitzed the Atlanta Hawks early from the 3-point stripe.

Then, the Suns finished it off from long range.

Eric Bledsoe scored 20 points, four teammates reached double figures and Phoenix won its fourth in a row, beating the Atlanta Hawks 102-95 on Monday night to pull even with Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Suns knocked down 12 of 24 from 3-point range, including back-to-back treys that clinched it. Bledsoe made all three of his attempts, while Channing Frye was 4-of-9 outside the arc to account for the bulk of his 18 points. Goran Dragic had 19 points, Markieff Morris 17 and Gerald Green 13.

Overall, Phoenix shot 51 percent from the field, while holding the Hawks to just under 42 percent.

"On offense, everybody was engaged, everybody was focused," Dragic said. "If you defend like that, then we can run, we hit 3s, and it's much easier to play like that."

Atlanta, trying to hold the eighth spot in the East, lost its third in a row after a season-high five-game winning streak. Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll led the Hawks with 19 points apiece. Jeff Teague and Lou Williams each had 17.

With the score tied at 59, Phoenix took control with a 14-4 run near the end of the third quarter. Bledsoe got it started with a drive to the basket, and Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer picked up a technical foul for griping about the officiating. Bledsoe made the free throw, turning it into a three-point play.

Frye took over from there, swishing three straight jumpers -- including a 3-pointer -- sandwiched around Dragic swiping an Atlanta pass and driving for a layup. The Suns closed the half on a Dragic's end-to-end drive, the Slovenian guard banking in the shot with 1.5 seconds left for a 77-68 lead heading to the fourth.

"I think the best thing about this team is there's no selfishness," Frye said.

The Hawks got as close as four in the closing period, but Phoenix sealed the victory on consecutive 3s by Markieff Morris and Bledsoe, stretching the lead to 98-86 with 2 1/2 minutes left.

"They put a lot of pressure on you early in the shot clock. They put a lot of pressure on matchup," Budenholzer said. "To beat a good team like that, you've got to play with a lot of energy in transition defense."

Dragic (six assists) and Bledsoe (four) were able to blow past the Hawks' defenders off the dribble, setting up shots both inside and out.

"They've got good penetrating guards surrounded by shooters," Millsap said. "You've got to choose your poison with them."

Locked in a tight battle for playoff positioning, the Suns are trying not to worry about what's going on around them. They improved to 42-29, tied for eighth with Dallas and just a half-game behind Memphis, which also won Monday. Phoenix is within three games of Portland and Golden State as well.

"It's about us," Frye said. "We have to play like we're already in it."

The teams were coming off contrasting performances on the road the previous day.

The Suns overcame a 22-point deficit at Minnesota to win 127-120, their biggest comeback of the season. Atlanta, on the other hand, squandered an 11-point lead going to the fourth quarter at Toronto, outscored by the Raptors 36-15 over the final 12 minutes.

Atlanta faded again at home, squandering a 52-44 lead early in the third.

The Suns jumped ahead 11-2 in the opening minutes, setting the tone with its 3-point shooting. Dragic, Frye and Bledsoe hit three straight from outside the stripe, while the Hawks missed their first six shots.

But Atlanta tightened up defensively and began hitting some shots, tying the game at 23 by late in the period. The Hawks were up 45-42 at halftime.

Notes

The Hawks played their third straight game without G Kyle Korver, who is hampered by back spasms. Budenholzer said there's no timetable for Korver's return. ... Shelvin Mack started in place of Korver. ... P.J. Tucker led the Suns with 11 rebounds. Phoenix held a 39-32 edge on the boards. ... The Suns swept the season series, following up a 129-120 victory in Phoenix three weeks earlier.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Eric Bledsoe scores 20 points, and the Suns win their fourth in a row to remain tied for the No. 8 seed.
Eric Bledsoe scores 20 points, and the Suns win their fourth in a row to remain tied for the No. 8 seed.  
Scoreboard
Phoenix (42-29) «25173525102
Atlanta (31-38)2322232795
PHO:E. Bledsoe 20 Pts
PHO:P. Tucker 11 Reb
PHO:G. Dragic 6 Ast
ATL:P. Millsap 19 Pts
ATL:P. Antic 8 Reb
ATL:S. Mack 6 Ast
Players of the Game
PhoenixAtlanta

Eric Bledsoe

Jeff Teague
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
20641745

Related Video

December 18, 2014
Marcin Gortat on the Doug Gottlieb Show (8:10)
December 18, 2014
NBA Expert Picks 12/18
(1:33)
December 17, 2014
Jim Rome: Grizzlies elite?
(1:43)
December 17, 2014
Boomer & Carton: Carmelo says Knicks don't believe they can win
(2:32)
Phoenix
C. Frye, C407-120-070418
E. Bledsoe, PG377-153-464220
P. Tucker, SF363-61-211468
G. Dragic, PG368-152-216419
M. Plumlee, C200-30-06010
M. Morris, PF266-94-433217
M. Morris, PF193-80-05017
G. Green, SG184-64-401413
I. Smith, PG60-00-00300
A. Len, C30-00-00010
L. Barbosa, SGDid Not Play
E. Okafor, CDid Not Play
S. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
D. Christmas, SGDid Not Play
A. Goodwin, SGDid Not Play
Totals 38-7414-16392125102
 51.4%87.5% 
Atlanta
P. Millsap, PF386-147-1050219
D. Carroll, SF375-87-741319
J. Teague, PG314-107-745217
S. Mack, PG282-90-02615
P. Antic, C262-60-08235
L. Williams, SG285-85-740217
M. Scott, PF214-101-21109
E. Brand, PF172-50-03234
D. Schroder, PG100-00-00100
M. Muscala, C50-20-01030
K. Korver, SGDid Not Play
A. Horford, CDid Not Play
C. Martin, SFDid Not Play
G. Ayon, PFDid Not Play
J. Jenkins, SGDid Not Play
Totals 30-7227-3332181995
 41.7%81.8% 
Other Games
Hou 100 Final
Char 89
Port 91 Final
Mia 93
Brook 104 Final
NO 109
Ind 77 Final
Chi 89
Den 96 Final
OKC 117
Min 92 Final
Mem 109
Phi 91 Final
SA 113
Det 114 Final
Utah 94
Mil 98 Final
LAC 106