Hawks don't want to be cure for Suns' record slump
The Phoenix Suns hope that Atlanta will be a slump-busting site on Saturday night, just as it was for the New York Knicks nine days ago.
The Suns bring a franchise-record 16-game losing streak into Saturday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. But the Phoenix players can take solace in the knowledge that the Knicks broke their 18-game losing streak by beating Atlanta before the All-Star break.
The Suns and Hawks play for the second time this season. Atlanta won 118-112 on Feb. 2 in Phoenix. The game will be the finale of a seven-game homestand for the Hawks, who are 1-5.
Phoenix is coming off a 111-98 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. The Suns rallied to take a one-point lead late in the third quarter but were outscored 40-26 the rest of the way.
Phoenix guard Devin Booker, who had 30 points against Cleveland, called for more accountability from his teammates.
"You have to change something when we're at the point we're at," said Booker, who averages 24.7 points and 6.7 assists per game. "We have to hold people accountable. You can't take things personally when a guy calls you out. We need to start not being scared to step on people's toes when something is wrong."
Booker has done his part. He is one of three players who have had 10-plus games with at least 30 points and seven assists. Booker has 11, one more than Giannis Antetokounmpo but far behind James Harden's 24.
The Suns have not won since Jan. 11, when they beat the Denver Nuggets. They have lost 11 games on the road during the 16-game slide. The Suns have won only twice in their last 25 games.
Atlanta returned from the All-Star break on Friday and dropped a 125-122 decision to the Detroit Pistons.
Rookie guard Trae Young scored 30 points -- his third game with 30-plus -- and 10 assists in the setback, continuing his streak of good play. Young has 19 double-doubles, the most among Eastern Conference rookies. It was the 14th time he's had at least 15 points and 10 assists, the 11th highest total ever for a rookie, according to BasketballReference.com
The Hawks also continue to reap the benefits of having veteran Vince Carter on the roster. The 21-year veteran from North Carolina scored 16 points off the bench on Friday and helped spark a third-quarter comeback. Carter is already talking about coming back next year.
"It's all expectations for me," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I expect to play well. I know the ups and downs and what comes with it sometimes. I know that. I get that. That's just what I expect of myself. I believe in my abilities, what I can do and what I bring to the table."
The Suns will be without T.J. Warren (right ankle soreness), who has missed the past 11 games. The Hawks will be without rookie Kevin Huerter (left ankle sprain), who missed Friday's game against the Pistons.
Atlanta signed Jordan Sibert to a 10-day contract. He had been playing for the Erie Bayhawks in the G League. He did not play on Friday.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 23, 2019