Schroder, Hawks beat Suns 95-91 to snap 7-game losing streak

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By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks had another tough night from long range.

Dennis Schroder just kept shooting anyway.

The Hawks point guard hit consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to spark a 17-1 run that carried Atlanta to a 95-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak and giving his team's playoff hopes a much-needed boost.

"I saw an opportunity to shoot it," Schroder said. "I just had to shoot it with confidence."

Atlanta was able to overcome a 6-of-27 showing beyond the arc. Schroder finished with 27 points, nine assists and six rebounds, offsetting a sloppy night in which he committed eight turnovers.

"We weren't great for 48 minutes, but he played hard and competed hard for 48 minutes," said coach Mike Budenholzer, whose ailing team had to go again without All-Star forward Paul Millsap and two other key players .

The Suns, who were missing Devin Booker, lost their ninth in a row in a matchup of teams with the two longest active losing streaks in the NBA.

"Everyone knows we're undermanned and it's going to be tough every night," Suns forward Jared Dudley said. "Schroder hit two good 3s. I thought those two 3s were the difference in the game. If he missed one of them, they might not win this game."

The Hawks raced to an 18-point lead in the first quarter and held Phoenix to just 12 points on 5-of-26 shooting. But Atlanta sleepwalked through the next two periods and went nearly 4 1/2 minutes in the fourth without scoring.

The Suns took advantage of the Hawks' shooting woes, finally taking their first lead of the night on Alan Williams' lay-in with 10:37 remaining and stretching the margin to 78-71.

After missing his first five 3s, Schroder answered with those back-to-back shots beyond the arc.

The Hawks pulled away from there.

"You've got to keep shooting," Schroder said. "The coaches say it all the time. When you're open, let it fly."

Booker, just two games removed from his 70-point performance against Boston , sat out the game after aggravating his injured right ankle.

T.J. Warren led the Suns with 24 points.

Millsap missed his sixth straight game for Atlanta with an ailing left knee, which is likely to keep him out at least through the weekend. Also sidelined were fellow starter Kent Bazemore (bruised right knee) and top bench player Thabo Sefolosha (strained right groin).

Bazemore is expected to play on Wednesday at Philadelphia, while Sefolosha also appears close to returning.

PLAYOFF RACE

The Hawks improved to 38-36 and hold the tiebreaker edge for the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference over the Milwaukee Bucks, who kept pace with a 118-108 victory at Charlotte.

Indiana (37-37) dropped a game back with a 115-114 loss to Minnesota, with Miami (36-38) another game back and holding the final playoff spot after a 97-96 victory over Detroit.

TIP-INS

Suns: Had their lowest-scoring first quarter of the season, but it wasn't their worst period. Phoenix managed only 10 points in the fourth of a Nov. 25 game against Minnesota. ... This is the longest losing streak for the Suns since a 13-game skid from Jan. 26-Feb. 25, 2016. ... Phoenix also struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 7 of 31.

Hawks: Avoided their longest losing streak since an eight-game slide in February 2014 during Budenholzer's first season as coach. ... Despite Schroder's heroics down the stretch, Atlanta has made just 11 of 54 beyond the arc over their last two games. ... Fill-in starters Ersan Ilyasova (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Taurean Prince (15 points, six rebounds) made solid contributions. ... Dwight Howard chipped in with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

UP NEXT

Suns: Return home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night after wrapping up a fruitless six-game road trip.

Hawks: Begin a three-game road swing Wednesday night against the 76ers.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .

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