The Atlanta Hawks have won three of their last four games – the lone exception being a 111-98 loss in Toronto on Fri., Jan. 5, – and look to be in very good position to continue adding to what is already a season-high win streak while on a five-game west coast road trip that starts Tuesday in Phoenix. If there was a time for Atlanta to be on the road and have a chance at coming back home with more wins than losses, that time is now.
The Suns (14-24) will be coming into the game on the heels of a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year’s Eve. Phoenix guard Devin Booker (24.9 points per game) scored a team high 32 points during the loss and along with former N.C. State standout T.J. Warren (19.4 ppg) will be the Suns players that Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and his team will have to keep from getting hot. The Suns had won three of their previous four games before the loss to Philadelphia with two of those wins coming against Memphis.
On Friday, the Hawks will play their final game of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers, a team they defeated last Saturday 104-89 behind 41 bench points and a game high 22 points by Dennis Schroder (11 points coming during crucial third quarter run). Trail Blazers leading scorer Damian Lillard missed that game and it showed down the stretch as Portland only managed 20 fourth quarter points.
The Hawks will play the Lakers (11-24) and Clippers (16-19) on consecutive nights, Sun. and Mon., before having a few days off before heading to Denver (19-17) for a Wed. game. The Lakers are currently on a six-game losing streak including their 148-142 double-overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on New Years Eve.
The Clippers, who defeated the Lakers 121-106 on Dec. 29, are currently on a three-game win streak including their 106-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on New Years Eve. Clipper guard and Atlanta area native Lou Williams scored 40 points and eight assists in the game and has always played well against the Hawks. Blake Griffin, who had a triple-double (26-10-10) during the Clippers 116-103 win in Atlanta on Nov. 22, has been back in the lineup for the past two games and looks to be back from injury and in quality form. Griffin is averaging 24.5 points, six assists and six rebounds during the two games.
Denver doesn’t return to action till Jan. 3 after having lost their last two games following a three-game win streak. The up and down Nuggets spoiled the hawks home opener 105-100 on October 27. Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 15 rebounds and five assist during the game.
If there was a time the Hawks could add to their win total and add to their current momentum it’s against three teams with sub .500 records.