The Hawks did not get off to a terrific start on their most recent two-game road trip. The team headed into Indiana carrying a six-game win streak with them and got off to the kind of start many expected. The Hawks opened up a double digit lead in the first quarter, but the Pacers came roaring back in the second. Indiana outscored the Hawks 31-13 in the second quarter and headed into the locker room with a 52-40. Atlanta battled back the whole second half, but could never regain the lead in large part due to the amount of times they turned the ball over. 20 giveaways led to numerous easy buckets, as the Pacers escaped with a 93-87 victory to snap the Hawks six-game win streak.
It did not look to much better the next night in Houston either. Well, at least initially. The Rockets opened up on fire shooting over 70% from the field and scoring 41 points in the first quarter. However, Houston has a tendency to let their foot of the pedal and the Hawks took advantage. After trailing by fifteen at the half, Atlanta inched their way back in the third and stormed away in the fourth. Al Horford led the way scoring 30 points on a night where four Hawks starters scored over 20 points. Atlanta outscored Houston 36-23 in the final period to beat the Rockets 121-115.
The Hawks head to Madison Square Garden where they will play game 1 of a home-and-home set with the New York Knicks. The Knicks have not given the Hawks much trouble so far this year, as Atlanta is 2-0 with both victories coming by double digits. However, it is crucial for the Hawks to shake off the rust and get off to a good start after four nights off. The two game set with the Knicks begins a very favorable stretch of games to start off the new year. The Hawks went a perfect 17-0 last January, something that had never been done in NBA history prior to them, so it is going to be tough for Atlanta to off to a better start this year, but meetings with the Knicks, Sixers, Nuggets, Bucks, Nets, Blazers, Kings, Nuggets, and Suns in their next 11 games should give them a terrific opportunity at getting to the top spot in the East.