Clint Capela scored 18 points to lead seven scorers in double figures and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away late to overcome Devin Booker’s 30 points and beat the Phoenix Suns 135-103
ATLANTA — Clint Capela scored 18 points to lead seven scorers in double figures and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away late to overcome Devin Booker’s 30 points and rout the Phoenix Suns 135-103 on Wednesday night.
The Suns began the night even with the Utah Jazz in the race for the NBA’s best record, thanks to a five-game winning streak. Phoenix faded badly in the fourth quarter of the back-to-back following Tuesday night’s 134-118 overtime win at Cleveland.
Atlanta outscored Phoenix 38-15 in the fourth period. The Suns’ first field goal of the period was a 3-pointer by Langston Galloway with 2:33 remaining.
Atlanta led 97-88 before scoring the first 14 points of the fourth period. Rookie Onyeka Okongwu had the first three baskets of the period and scored 14 points.
Atlanta stretched its lead to 23 points, 111-88, before the Suns finally managed their first points of the quarter on Cameron Payne’s two free throws.
By that time, Suns coach Monty Williams had all his starters on the bench.
The Hawks began the night fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Mikal Bridges, who had 18 points, was the Suns’ only other scorer in double figures.
Trae Young had 16 points and 12 assists. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari also had 16 points.
The Suns lead the NBA with 22 road wins but the Hawks continued their recent strong play at home. The Hawks earned their seventh consecutive home win and have won 15 of its last 17 in Atlanta. The Suns suffered their seventh consecutive loss in Atlanta.
The Suns showed no early signs of fatigue. Phoenix made 14 of 22 shots from the field (68.2%) in the high-scoring opening period. Even with the strong shooting, the Suns trailed 42-38 because the Hawks had the same shooting percentage while making 7 of 10 3s.
Each team’s scoring pace cooled off in the second period. Atlanta took a 67-65 lead into halftime after making only one 3-pointer, by Bogdanovic, in the second period.
Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari each made seven 3s in Monday’s 123-114 home win over Portland. It marked the first time a pair of Atlanta players each made at least seven 3s in a game. That set a difficult mark to match against the Suns.
Before the game, Williams praised Capela, saying the Hawks center “has been one of the best players in the league. Doesn’t get a lot of recognition in that category but he’s as important to this team as any player in the league is to their team.
Capela backed up the compliment with 10 rebounds for his 45th double-double in 59 games. Young recorded his 27th double-double.
Suns: The team’s return home from a three-game road trip could provide an update on F Jae Crowder (sprained right ankle), who missed his eighth consecutive game. “We hope to get him back soon,” Williams said.
Hawks: Atlanta’s last home loss to the Suns came on March 24, 2014. … F De’Andre Hunter missed his 47th game with right knee soreness but could be moving closer to playing. Coach Nate McMillan said Hunter had no physical problems on Wednesday after participating in three-on-three practice on Tuesday. McMillan said an upcoming four-day break will provide more practice opportunity for Hunter, who was averaging 16 points before the injury and was emerging as a key starter.
Suns: Return home to play the New York Knicks on Friday night.
Hawks: Complete a back-to-back at Indiana on Thursday night before closing the regular season with four consecutive home games.
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