ATLANTA (AP) — Kevin Huerter says he has no idea when Trae Young is about to go on one of his hot streaks.
The latest scoring spree for the Atlanta point guard was especially well-timed.
Young scored 21 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and the Hawks pulled away late to beat the Phoenix Suns 123-110 on Tuesday night.
“Any shot Trae takes looks good to us,” Huerter said. “He hit probably two 30-footers. When he’s making those, he’s tough to guard.”
Devin Booker led the Suns with 39 points before he was ejected for his second technical foul following his dunk with less than two minutes remaining.
Young had only 15 points before more than doubling his total in the final period for his 20th game with at least 30 points this season. He is averaging 29.1 points per game.
“You have to have a closer in this league and you have to be able to execute in the fourth quarter,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said.
For Atlanta, saddled with the NBA’s worst record, there has been far too little fourth-quarter execution this season. That changed against the Suns, when the Hawks made 12 of 19 shots, including five of eight three-pointers, in the final period. Young hit four of seven threes in the final 12 minutes.
“He’s been doing that since high school,” said Suns centre Deandre Ayton, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Young got help from Huerter, his backcourt partner. Huerter scored 23 points and set career highs with 15 rebounds and eight assists.
“I was trying to be aggressive,” he said.
John Collins added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Led by Young, the Hawks pulled away in the final period after briefly losing their lead in the third. Young’s three-pointer gave Atlanta a 95-92 lead it did not relinquish.