What was that Charles Barkley? The Hawks continue to pile up the wins straight out of the gate. Last season, the Hawks finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference despite getting off to a pedestrian 7-7 start. As it currently stands, the Hawks are on a seven game winning streak and look as strong as ever. Last year the team won 60 games. Could the team exceed that amount in 2015-16? Only time will tell, but after a shaky end to the regular season and postseason, the Hawks appear to be clicking on all cylinders once again. The Hawks sit atop the Southeast Division as well as the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks had a busy week to say the least, but it was business as usual for Coach Bud and the crew. The team kicked things off against the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Center, facing off against one of the best teams on paper in the Eastern Conference. Jeff Teague came close to posting a double-double, dropping 26 points and dishing 9 assists. He also brought down 6 boards. Double-doubles from both Al Horford and Paul Millsap helped complement Teague’s statement game, and the team was victorious down at South Beach, 98-92.
The Hawks played the second night of a back-to-back the next evening in Atlanta against the Brooklyn Nets, one of their playoff opponents from last season. Despite resting Kyle Korver, the Hawks made easy work of Brooklyn. Dennis Schroder got the start and made the most of it, dropping 20 points. The Hawks played terrific defense and won at home 101-87.
The Hawks got one night of rest and they were back at it, with a road game in New Orleans. Last season, it was Anthony Davis and the Pelicans who ended the team’s 19-game winning streak. Not this time around. Davis was absolutely unbelievable, dropping 43 points and 10 rebounds. However, the Hawks played great team basketball and Kyle Korver had one of the best games of his career, dropping 22 points on 8/8 shooting. The Hawks proved that their balanced attack can withstand an elite superstar performance, and they beat the Pelicans 121-115 in what has been the most exciting game of the young season.
The Hawks wrapped up their week the next evening against the Wizards. These two teams are forming a rivalry of sorts after last season’s dramatic playoff series, and both teams boast young talent. However, the Hawks made a statement against the team from our nation’s capital. Kent Bazemore, who has replaced Demarre Carroll in the starting lineup, posted a career-high 25 points. While we saw Bazemore look mediocre at times in an expanded role last season, many Hawks fan do not realize that he was dealing with injuries going into the season. Now healthy, Bazemore is stepping up and making Hawks fans forget all about Demarre Carroll. Tiago Splitter got the night off for rest, but that did not stop the Hawks from winning a statement game. Though it was a close contest entering the final quarter, the hawks outscored Washington 39-21 and went on to win their 7th straight game, 114-99.
Winning 4 games in 5 nights is impressive, especially when you take into account that Coach Bud has been resting his players. The Hawks appear to be as strong as ever, and they have the fifth-best offensive rating as well as the tenth-best defensive rating so far this season. The team will look to extend their winning streak this week, as they play the Timberwolves, Pelicans, Celtics and Jazz.