The Hawks no longer look like the bottom dweller that they have been for most of the season, and since the All-Star Break, they have won four of their last six contests. Finally, we are starting to see the glimpses of hope we expected over the full season for this team, and we are still awaiting the arrival of Clint Capela, who is poised to give the Hawks even more of a boost. However, their home success has been a season-long occurrence, and over their last ten games at State Farm Arena, eight of them have resulted in victory.
For the season, Atlanta is 13-18 at home, compared to just 6-25 on the road. Coach Lloyd Pierce feels that “Our home court has been great all year, I think we’ve laid a couple of eggs early on in the year.”
A big reason why the Hawks are starting to make strides at home has to do with the team’s development, but it goes further than that. The Hawks’ new ownership has done a fantastic job making sure that State Farm Arena is filled. The renovation has turned the facility into a state of the art venue, and in last season’s NBA Experience Survey, Atlanta took the top spot among all teams in ticketholder satisfaction for their “Overall Game Experience.” They have also done a fantastic job tapping into all of the local talents the city has to offer for entertainment purposes. The Hawks may be among the bottom of the standings, but if you go to a regular-season game on a weeknight, the house is filled.
I recently asked Pierce what he thought was the main reason for the team’s success at home as of late:
“I think our fans’ support, I think it’s a city that is ready for a team and is really rallying behind our guys. We have energy, we have star power with a guy like Trae, we have a bunch of young guys that the fans are really behind.”
Trae is undoubtedly a critical reason why the fans show up. He is Atlanta’s first real star since Dominique Wilkins and is one of the most entertaining and talented young players in the game. While the Hawks are not where they want to be in the win column quite yet, the young core is the most reason for excitement the Hawks have had in a very, very long time, despite their streak of ten consecutive playoff appearances. The ultimate goal is winning a championship, and Young offers hope that has not been here since Wilkins.
But even with the fans yelling and screaming, the game has to be played on the court.
“I think our home court has been tremendous, I think it’s up to us to bring the consistency with our effort, style of play,” said Pierce. “The last ten games, we’re number one in scoring in the NBA, and it really goes back to can we not turn the basketball over and can we move the basketball.”
Over this stretch, they have averaged 122 points per game. Half of these games were played at home, and the Hawks have won the last four they played there. During this time, John Collins has emerged as a legitimate NBA star, coming off a month where he became the first player in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting over 60% from the field, 50% from beyond the arc, and 80% from the stripe. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish have played at a different level offensively after getting adjusted to the league in their rookie seasons. Trae Young is just Trae Young.
Not only have the Hawks seen a ton of development as a team since the New Year — when they really were reunited as a complete unit — but they also benefit from having an easy schedule for the rest of the season. Atlanta has the second friendliest schedule remaining, making this a golden opportunity for them to continue their home dominance, and hopefully, have it translate to next season.
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