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Hawks 96, Suns 87

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PHOENIX — Paul Millsap had 23 points and nine rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks held the Phoenix Suns to six points in the first eight-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to pull out a 96-87 win Friday.

Kyle Korver had 14 points and didn’t have his first 3-pointer — extending his consecutive games streak with at least one to 51 games — until 2:07 remained in the third quarter. But he had two more in the fourth and Millsap had two as well, as the Hawks hit 5 of 7 in the final 12 minutes and outscored the Suns 31-14 the quarter.

Al Horford added 12 points for the Hawks (51-14), who avoided a three-game road losing streak.

Markieff Morris had 22 points and Eric Bledsoe had 21 points for the Suns, who hit 10 of their first 17 3-pointers but missed the last nine in a row — including all five in the fourth quarter.

The Suns also lost center Alex Len to a right ankle sprain with seven minutes left to play. It’s the third time he’s sprained the same ankle this season.

Phoenix (34-33) led 71-60 with 3:02 left in the third quarter and 73-65 entering the fourth, but scored only three baskets in the first 8:26 while the Hawks took the lead and closed out the game.

The first half featured 14 lead changes and six ties.

Millsap had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first period, including a steal and dunk with 2:50 left to give Atlanta a 24-19 lead. The Hawks took that five-point lead (28-23) to the second period and increased it to 39-30 on two Horford free throws with 7:28 left.

But Phoenix reeled off the next 10 points, five of them by Bledsoe, and took the lead at 40-39 on one of two Archie Goodwin 3-pointers with five minutes left. Goodwin had nine points in the quarter and the Suns took a slim 50-48 lead at intermission.

The Suns opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run paced by 3-pointers from Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker and Bledsoe. The Hawks shaved the lead back to three before the Suns reeled off another 8-0 run, with Bledsoe feeding Brandan Wright for a alley-oop slam to regain the 11-point lead at 71-60 with 3:01 left.

But the 3-pointers stop falling for the Suns and started falling for the Hawks.

NOTES: Suns F P.J. Tucker has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and is averaging 13.1 points over that span along with 7.8 rebounds. … The Hawks were hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak on the road since opening the season 0-3 away from home. They have lost five of their last eight road games since setting a franchise record with 12 straight road wins from Dec. 17-Jan. 17. … G Brandon Knight missed his second game with a sprained right ankle but G T.J. Warren stepped up with 17 points in 18 minutes in a win over Minnesota Wednesday. He was the first rookie to score at least 17 points in less than 20 minutes of play this season, and the first Sun to do it since Paul McPherson in 2000 (20 points in 17 minutes vs. Toronto). … Atlanta has clinched a playoff berth for the eighth straight season, which is the longest streak in team history and the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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