Phoenix– The Hawks limited Steve Nash to six points. The Suns made just two 3-pointers, scored more than 20 points below their average and had their lowest-scoring game since Feb. 22, 2008.
– And yet the Hawks still lost. What happened? “I’m not sure,” Jamal said. “Maybe we lost focus a little bit and it caught up with us.”
– Or maybe the Hawks’ starters lost their legs. Woody didn’t play any bench players other than Jamal in the second half. “I decided to go that route,” he said. “I learned a little something tonight because that won’t happen again.”
– With that, Woody walked off. Maybe he was peeved at his starters for letting the Suns’ reserves outplay them or ticked at himself for not using his bench more.
– Did the starters fatigue? “I’m not sure,” Josh Smith said. “Normally we don’t get tired. We practice well with our conditioning. We just got outplayed, bottom line.”
– The game was tied at 70-70 early in the fourth quarter. Then the Suns used their bench guys to put the Hawks away. “Their second unit outplayed us,” Smoove said. “We just can’t let that happen.”
– Starters Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez played less than four minutes in the fourth period. Grant Hill played 1:14.
– “You’ve got to give their bench credit,” Al said. “They came out and stepped it up. We were not doing enough to get stops when we needed them. We were not being aggressive enough in the fourth quarter.”
– The Suns’ bench players scored 13 in the fourth. The Hawks scored 14 points total with no assists. “They are NBA players,” J.J. said of the Suns reserves. “That happens.” He didn’t seem at all happy about losing in the city where he made his NBA rep.
– The Hawks shot just 40 percent, turned it over 15 times and gave up 14 offensive rebounds. “It seemed like when our offense wasn’t working, we gave it up defensively as well,” J.J. said. “It’s very frustrating because we know the position we are in and we know we have a tight race in the East. It’s definitely mind-boggling.”
– The Suns got 52 of their 88 points in the paint. That’s 59 percent of their points from in close. That’s just bad. “We gave up some baskets,” Al said, “but when you hold them to 88 points you should win.”
– The Suns had six straight buckets in the paint during their decisive 13-0 run in the fourth quarter: Jared Dudley got to the rim and tipped in his own missed layup, Jason Richardson went unchecked for a dunk on the baseline, Channing Frye got dunk in transition, Louis Amundson scored on a putback and then a spin move in the lane and Dudley made a layup.
– “You have to play 48 minutes consistently,” Al said. “We had some slip-ups, their bench really stepped it up and that was it.”
– Actually, despite all that went wrong the Hawks got six with 1:31 to play. They were down 86-79 with 1:12. “That’s plenty of time,” Woody said, but then Marvin threw it away to Nash from out of bounds.
– The Hawks didn’t foul there, either. It just seemed like no one was mentally into it in the fourth quarter. It looked like the refocus and recommit talk didn’t last once the Hawks met an opponent that offered more resistance than the Clippers.
– Jamal was 0-for-4 in the first half, 4 of 11 overall. “They double-teamed me the whole game,” he said. “I’ve never seen that. I asked Channing who else they’ve done that to and he said, ‘You are in good company.’”
– Joe Smith played six spirited minutes in the first half with seven points and four rebounds. Then he didn’t play after halftime as the Hawks struggled to score and rebound. It didn’t make sense.
– The Hawks blew a game they should have at least had a chance to win at the end. Now they are 1-1 on the four-game trip with the Warriors on Sunday and the Jazz on Monday. “We’ll bounce back but we’ve got to learn from this,” Woody said.
– I didn’t note any fourth-quarter Iso-Joe plays in the last two games. He didn’t play much in the fourth against the Clippers and only got off three shots late against the Suns.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.