Flying With Clipped Wings: The Atlanta Hawks Stay Hot Despite Injuries
The last week has really been a strange one for the Hawks. They somehow managed to put up one of the worst performances in franchise history and go 3-1 in the same week.
The Hawks (29-16) started the week on Monday night with a last-second 100-98 win over the Sacramento Kings with Joe Johnson leading the charge with 36 points, including the last two points off of free throws.
The Hawks followed that with a huge win in Miami against the Heat. The 93-89 overtime win pulled the Hawks closer to the Heat, who are currently leading the Southeast Division by two games. While Chris Bosh was out for the Heat, the Hawks were without Marvin Williams as well and had Al Horford get hurt during the game.
They followed the emotional high with a serious low, as they only managed to score 59 points in a 41-point loss to the New Orleans Hornets. It was the Hawks' worst performance since moving to Atlanta in 1968. It was the type of loss coming off of a big game that could demoralize a team, but not these Hawks.
They bounced back just 24 hours later with a 103-87 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Joe Johnson again managed to be the focal point as he scored 32 points.
So despite the poor performance against the Hornets, the Hawks still helped themselves this week. They managed to continue to close the gap between themselves and the Heat while also keeping pace with the Orlando Magic, who they tied with for second in the division.
How scary will the Hawks be come playoff time?
The thing that stands out for these Hawks has been their ability to work through injuries. Head coach Larry Drew is, in my opinion, putting himself in Coach of the Year territory with his ability to keep this team rolling despite some setbacks.
Perhaps the most impressive stat is their improvement on the road, as the Hawks are now 15-9 away from the Highlight Factory. This improvement is going to really help come playoff time, as the Hawks have recently struggled to pull off tough games on the road when the games matter the most.
If the Hawks continue their pace on the road and their annual success at home, they may be the most feared team come playoff time, as they have one of the few rosters in the Eastern Conference that didn’t make any changes with players over the offseason. With their current standing as the fifth seed in the conference, the Hawks are going to be focused on improving that spot, since the team in the sixth spot is 5.5 games back from them.
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