Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4769 Atlanta Hawks vs.
#4770 Phoenix Suns
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 9:00pm EST
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
Written by Jordy

(This game has been postponed)

The Atlanta Hawks hope to continue their bounce-back effort in a tough head-to-head meeting with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Monday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak for the Hawks. They’ll be looking to add to that momentum in a road trip to PHX Arena to take on a Suns team coming off a 128-107 blowout loss to the Washington Wizards.

Hits keep on coming for the Hawks

This was on the verge of being a special season for the Hawks. The jury is out on whether that’s still the case, but one thing is certain: Few teams have faced the sort of early adversity as Atlanta.

There were already injuries across the board with Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari and even rookie No. 6 overall draft pick Onyeka Okongwu being out. But the hits keep coming with the team recently announcing Bogdan Bogdanovic would be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time with a fractured knee.

Another one bites the dust for the Hawks.

It’s a tough break for a team that has missed the playoffs in the last three straight seasons. Granted, there’s still a glimmer of hope with Rondo potentially returning later in the week. The Hawks also showed some resilience in ending their four-game losing streak and knocking off the Sixers on Monday. Whatever fire they conjured up for that meeting will be needed again for Wednesday’s showdown with the Suns.

While Phoenix ranks middle of the pack in defensive efficiency, they are only allowing an average 106.7 points per game this season. So they aren’t a team that gives up a lot of points. It’ll be a tough challenge for a Hawks team making a living off breaking the scoreboard. There was a point in the season when they were the No. 1-ranked scoring offense. Things have obviously changed, but they will always be dangerous with Trae Young, John Collins and De’Andre Hunter on the floor. The burgeoning young trio has been a revelation for the Hawks this season.

Yet, the biggest story is the massive improvement we’ve seen from the team on the defensive end of the floor. Opposing teams are only averaging 44.2 percent shooting against the Hawks this season. It pales in comparison to them being the worst scoring defense last year. They’ll have their work cut out for them in slowing down a Phoenix offense led by one of the league’s deadliest marksmen, Devin Booker.

Suns looking to stay strong at home

The Suns could smell the Phoenix home-cooking from Washington as they crashed and burned against the Wizards on Monday night. It marked their second loss in a three-game road trip. The team couldn’t have been happier to hop on a plane and head back west for the PHX Arena, where they are 3-1 this season.

A trip home is much-needed with the Hawks next on the schedule. The road has been bumpy for this young Atlanta team, but they are considerably dangerous for any opponent in the NBA. Yes, they’ve been beat by the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, but they’ve also defeated the Sixers and Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both on the floor. This is not a team the Suns want to overlook.

They can run up a scoreboard at the snap of a finger.

The Hawks aren’t going to let the Suns beat them beyond the arc, but they are clearly vulnerable from close range. They are currently ranked 18th in the league in two-point defense with opponents averaging 53 percent shooting inside the arc against them. We need to see an aggressive effort from the Suns to attack the basket. Not only can they rack up points, but they can also put the Hawks in foul trouble. Atlanta ranks in the bottom-half of the league in average fouls committed per game.

On defense, the Suns can’t get happy feet when standing in front of Young and company. They need to keep the dribblers in front of them and force them to take tough shots. The team has run into some defensive issues as of late with opponents averaging 47.1 percent shooting against them in their last three games. A bad defensive night would lead to an absolute catastrophe against the streaky shooting Hawks.

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The Suns have fallen into a habit of alternating between winning and losing games. More importantly, they have a habit of playing their best basketball on their home floor. They’ll be ready to go in this home game after dropping an ugly loss to the Wizards on the road.

While the Hawks have certainly improved defensively, they’ve still shown struggles at the rim. Booker and Chris Paul are both incredibly efficient with the ball in their hands when driving towards the basket and finishing, while also opening the opportunity to free up other shooters. There will be more finishing than dishing against a Hawks team allowing an average 55.1 percent shooting from two-point range when they’re the road team.

The Suns have a knack for putting prolific offensive teams on ice, especially when they’re playing at the PHX Arena. Wednesday’s meeting with the struggling Hawks will be no different. I’m laying the points and taking the Suns.

Prediction: Phoenix Suns (-5)

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There’s a rush to judgement that any game with Young and Booker on the same floor yields to an offensive fireworks show for the ages. Yet, it’s crazy to think that both teams are ranked top-12 in scoring defense this season. The Suns have particularly been dominant when playing on their home floor. Teams are being held to 103.8 points per game in Phoenix. That presents a problem for a streaky Hawks team that will be down one of their best long-distance snipers in Bogdanovic. Defense will steal the show in this meeting. Give me the under on Wednesday.

Prediction: Under (228)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.