CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 06: Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks calls a play against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The start may be remembered more for what could have been, but the Atlanta Hawks just completed a brutal stretch to open the season and came out on the other side with a 6-3 record. Atlanta played nine times in the first 12 days of the NBA season that included three sets of back-to-back games and their first set of three games in three days.
In that opening stretch Atlanta played five of the nine games on the road. The Hawks also held their own against the Eastern Conference's elite splitting four games with the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls and coming within an eyelash of taking all four.
The schedule lightens up slightly in the coming weeks for the Hawks although it is important to point out that it never really lightens up in this compressed 66 game jaunt. Over the next two weeks, Atlanta will have just two sets of back-to-backs.
The Hawks open a two game road trip tonight in New Jersey that will continue Wednesday in Indiana. They return home on Thursday to open a four game home stand that takes them through January 18. Opponents on the home stand include Charlotte, an potentially entertaining matchup with Minnesota, an MLK day matchup with Toronto and an ESPN game against Portland.
There won't be that many stars on the opposing teams lining up to motivate the Hawks whose goal for the week should be consistency no matter the opponent.