NBA official Rodney Mott breaks up arguing between Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) and Phoenix Suns center Jermaine O'Neal (20) in the second half. The Suns defeated the Hawks, 92-87.
PHOENIX - With a postseason berth out of reach and thoughts of a high lottery pick dancing in fans' heads, the Phoenix Suns have suddenly decided to start winning basketball games.
Goran Dragic had 19 points before suffering a bruised back in the third quarter, and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Suns followed Wednesday's win in San Antonio with their third straight win, a 92-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
Marcus Morris had four of Phoenix's 10 three-pointers in a game that got physical in the second half. Wesley Johnson continued his strong play with a season-high 15 points and hit three from beyond the arc.
Al Horford had 20 points and Kyle Korver had 17 for the Hawks, who had won four in a row overall and five straight on the road. The Hawks had won six of their last seven games and had averaged 110 points in the six wins. But the Suns held Atlanta to 68 points in the first three quarters and closed them out with Dragic on the bench.
The game got testy in the third quarter. Dragic left the game not long after going airborne and landing on his back after a foul by Atlanta's Devin Harris. Harris was assessed a technical foul on the play. After a pair of pushing and shoving matches, Hawks guard Jeff Teague hit Marcus Morris in the air while Morris was attempting a breakaway dunk with 35.7 seconds left in the third quarter. Morris hit his head on the floor and Teague was called for a Flagrant 1 foul.
Dragic continued his strong post-All-Star-Game play with 10 of his 14 first-half points in the first quarter. Phoenix erased a five-point deficit to take a 21-19 lead on Dragic's three-pointer with 1:43 left.
Atlanta used a 9-0 run to build a 33-27 lead on a three-point play by Anthony Tolliver's with 6:43 left in the half. But the Suns took over from there, closing the half on a 17-6 run with back-to-back three-pointers by Marcus Morris in the final 56.5 seconds, giving Phoenix a 44-39 lead at intermission.
The Suns built the lead to as many as 11 in the second half and never relinquished it.
Hawks guard DeShawn Stevenson, who got the start over Harris, suffered a dislocated middle finger on his left hand just seconds into the game and had to leave. But Stevenson popped the finger back into place on his way to the dressing room and returned for the second quarter, hitting a three-pointer scoring five points in the half.
NOTES: The Suns have their first three-game winning streak since they won four straight from Dec. 12-19. In between those two streaks, they went 7-24 and did not win back-to-back games. ... In back-to-back overtime wins against Minnesota and San Antonio, the Suns held their two opponents in overtime to seven points and 2-for-18 shooting combined. The Spurs were 0-10 in a building where they hadn't lost since mid-November. ... Suns center Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 13 rebounds against the Spurs. His last game of at least 17 points and 12 rebounds came three years ago -- Feb. 20, 2010. ... The Hawks haven't beaten the Suns twice in a season since 1991-92, when Dominique Wilkins (28.1) led the team in scoring. ... On this date in 1998, Wilkins had his sixth of seven 50-point games in his career, scoring 50 against Detroit's "Bad Boys."