What has Gotten into the Hawks?

The Atlanta Hawks (45-30) have lost just twice since they lost in overtime at the Golden State Warriors on March 1st. They have won 12 out of their 14 games since then. The two losses were at the Toronto Raptors on March 10th by eight and then at home against the Washington Wizards by 15 (the Hawks did get their revenge on the Wizards two nights later by beating them by 21).

The Eastern Conference rankings going into the Hawks game at the Los Angeles Lakers (which the Hawks won by 29 to begin this streak) were as follows:

Rank

Team

Record

Division Rank

Games Back

1

Cleveland Cavaliers

42-17

1st Central

2

Toronto Raptors

40-19

1st Atlantic

2

3

Boston Celtics

37-25

2nd Atlantic

6.5

4

Miami Heat

35-26

1st Southeast

8

5

Atlanta Hawks

33-28

2nd Southeast

10

6

Charlotte Hornets

32-28

3rd Southeast

10.5

7

Indiana Pacers

32-29

2nd Central

11

8

Detroit Pistons

31-30

3rd Central

12

9 tie

Chicago Bulls

30-30

4th Central

13

9 tie

Washington Wizards

30-30

4th Southeast

13

Since that time, and going into March 29th, the Hawks have the best record in the East. The East standings have now changed to as follows:

Rank

Team

Record

Division Rank

Games Bank

Record Since March 4th

1

Cleveland Cavaliers

52-21

1st Central

10-4

2

Toronto Raptors

49-24

1st Atlantic

3

9-5

3

Atlanta Hawks

45-30

1st Southeast

8

12-2

4

Miami Heat

43-30

2nd Southeast

9

8-4

5

Boston Celtics

43-31

2nd Atlantic

9.5

6-6

6

Charlotte Hornets

42-31

3rd Southeast

10

10-3

7

Indiana Pacers

39-34

2nd Central

13

7-5

8

Detroit Pistons

39-35

3rd Central

13.5

8-5

9 tie (2-1 against Bulls)

Washington Wizards

36-37

4th Southeast

16

6-7

9 tie

Chicago Bulls

36-37

4th Central

16

6-7

Eight of the Hawks’ 14 games came against teams currently in the playoffs, making this run even more impressive. They averaged over 105 points per game over these 14 games, while allowing just a little over 95 per game. Outscoring their opponents by 10 points per game is an awesome average. The Hawks are only averaging outscoring their opponents by four points per game on the season as a whole.

Over these 14 games, Jeff Teague has averaged 16 points per game and roughly 7.5 assists per game. Paul Millsap has averaged more than 15 points and nine rebounds per, while Al Horford has averaged 15 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder have also averaged double digit points per game over this stretch as well.
One of the biggest surprises for the Hawks over this stretch would be the emergence of Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway has been a bit of a disappointment thus far since the Hawks traded for him during last year’s draft, but in five of the 14 games, Hardaway scored at least 10 points, including games where he scored 16, 20 and 21 points.
The Hawks struggled down the stretch last season. They also had a comfortable lead for the 1-seed, so they were able to rest and clearly were not trying real hard in their final games. They were, however, able to get through the first two rounds of the playoffs fairly easily before getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. So this year, it is really nice to see them really clicking heading into the playoffs.
The Hawks’ final seven games include four at home, with all but two against teams currently in the playoffs, if they were to start today. And three of the games are against the top two teams in the East; one against the Raptors and two against the Cavs.
If the Hawks can keep up this momentum against top-tier teams, they should be in great shape heading into the playoffs.
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