More after the jump:
Is any home-court playoff team less respected than the Atlanta Hawks? They've improved five years in a row, they've won a playoff series for two years running, they're coming off a 53-win season, they've held on to their top players while staying under the luxury tax, and yet they remain an afterthought.
No doubt. It's what I wrote about before the season started, how the goodness that the team is was getting lost in the bad matchup with Orlando and no significant changes to the on-court product.
The team hasn't played the heavy hitters yet, but you have to give them credit for winning the games in front of them, especially when last season the team lost games late against teams they had no business losing to, especially at home. Some of those losses, like the linked one to the Knicks, happened because of fourth quarter offensive meltdowns.
After their fourth win, a roadie in Cleveland, Horford notes the change to MC:
– "We are handling situations better," Al said. "Last year this would have been a game we let slip away. We feel confident. We are going to keep working to get better. We still have a ways to go."
Exit Question: At what point do you get excited about the opening win streak? 7-0? 9-0? Gasp....12-0?