ATLANTA — Jamal Crawford hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap an Atlanta comeback in the final seconds, giving the Hawks a 102-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
The home team trailed 100-96 after Steve Nash hit two free throws with 10 seconds left. But Atlanta squeezed two more possessions out of the clock, and Phoenix missed a couple of chances to put the Hawks away.
The Suns failed to block out when Josh Smith missed the second of two free throws with six seconds to go, allowing Crawford to slip inside for the rebound. His putback made it 100-99.
Amare Stoudemire was fouled quickly and missed one of his free throws. After a timeout, Mike Bibby inbounded the ball to Crawford, who put up a 28-footer over Jared Dudley.
Nothing but net.
The Hawks celebrated wildly. Smith jumped onto the scoring table, pumped his chest and put a hand to an ear while the crowd roared. The officials looked at a replay just to make sure Crawford got off the shot in time, but it left his hand with a full second to spare. There was no doubt he was beyond the 3-point stripe.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 24 points, while Smith had a big game with 20 points and 15 rebounds. But it was Crawford, Atlanta’s indispensable new sixth man, who provided the biggest shot of all to finish with 21 points and give the Hawks a chance to reclaim first in the Southeast Division.
The Hawks went into the night a half-game behind Orlando, which played late Friday at Portland.
Stoudemire scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and pulled down 14 rebounds. Grant Hill added 21 points.
Phoenix looked to have pulled off the key defensive stop when Crawford dribbled into a double team and the ball came loose. Nash got to it just ahead of Bibby, flipped a no-look pass ahead to Goran Dragic who went in for a dunk that put the Suns ahead 96-94 with just over a minute remaining.
After Joe Johnson missed — the Atlanta star made only 8 of 22 from the field — Stoudemire worked around Horford in the lane and rolled in a shot over Smith’s outstretched hand to give Phoenix a four-point cushion.
The Suns looked in good shape after an exchange of free throws, but the Hawks had just enough time to pull off the improbable finish.
After trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, Atlanta ripped off 11 straight points in the third quarter for its first lead since the opening minutes. Bibby sparked the run with a 3-pointer, then Horford and Smith scored four points apiece for a 70-63 lead, which would be Atlanta’s largest lead of the night.
The Hawks were up 78-75 heading to the fourth quarter, then suddenly went cold. The home team missed its first nine shots from the field while Phoenix reclaimed the lead.
NOTES: The Hawks honored Hall of Famers Dominique Wilkins on his 50th birthday with a cake and confetti during a break in the second quarter. Wilkins, now an Atlanta executive and broadcaster, also received a plaid shawl, a walker and reading glasses. ... Bibby had 11 assists for the Hawks, while Nash put up the same number for the Suns.