It has been a roller coaster ride of sorts through the first 29 games of the season for the reigning Eastern Conference regular season champions. After losing their home opener, the Hawks rattled off seven straight wins before falling to the Timberwolves at home. Atlanta has gone 10-10 in their last 20 games, but coming off two solid road victories over the up and coming Boston and Orlando teams, the Hawks look to be poised to put themselves in the top tier of the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta has not had the success they imagined after starting the season 7-1, but to be fair, the schedule has been quite tough. The last 20 games has featured games against the Heat, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Raptors and pair of games against the Spurs, Thunder and Celtics. It’s not an excuse, but over the course of an 82-game regular season these type of lulls are going to happen. Better to get them out now than later, right?
Atlanta heads home after three straight road wins against that featured a lot more of the play that we saw from the Hawks last season. Fluid basketball, where no one player is counted on to do too much. The Hawks had at least 5 players score in double digits in all three of the road wins, something that was a staple for Atlanta in their historic 60-win season last year.
And the schedule looks a lot more favorable looking forward. They host the Blazers, Pistons and Knicks, which could possible jolt them into the top four of the East before week’s end. They have to face a tough two-game roadie against the Pacers and Rockets, but after that have a 12 game stretch that only has them playing two teams that are currently in playoff position. The Hawks feasted on opponents with below .500 records last season, posting a 36-9 record which was by far the best in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks look to beginning to hit stride, and the schedule could not favor the team any more over the next 20 games. Expect to see a lot better than 10-10 this time around, and for the Hawks to bolt their way to the top couple spots in the Eastern Conference standings by the end of January.