NBA Power Rankings: Three Game Losing Streak Has Hawks Sliding

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Hawks have dropped the first three games of their current four-game home stand and thus are justifiably sliding in this week's edition of the NBA Power Rankings round-up. Honestly, SB Nation's Tom Ziller wasn't as harsh on the Hawks as I was expecting although their No. 8 ranking did come out before Monday night's loss to Phoenix.

8. Atlanta Hawks 16-8 W: TOR; L: MEM, PHI Peachtree Hoops
Atlanta has largely survived the loss of Al Horford -- he could return for the playoffs -- but looks to be a solid step below the East's top three teams. Josh Smith is having a brilliant defensive season, but has reverted to his old ways on offense (too many jumpers). Joe Johnson is quietly earning out that massive contract, and Ivan Johnson is an absolute cult hero.

Atlanta didn't fair nearly as well in Marc Stein's power rankings this week where they dropped five spots all the way down to No. 14.

Sorry, Hawks. Can't give you two All-Stars when you have four wins in 12 tries against .500-or-better teams. The consolation: Atlanta is a tidy 12-0 against teams with losing records to rank as the only unbeaten team in that category even after losing Horford. And it's 10-1 when Joe Johnson scores 20-plus.'s John Schuhmann also drops the Hawks five spots down from No. 4 last week to No. 9 this week.

Atlanta (16-8)
Pace: 92.6 (21), Off: 102.1 (11), Def: 96.0 (6)
After consecutive double-digit losses at home, you have to wonder if the Hawks' ability to withstand the loss of Al Horford expired when we flipped the calendar from January to February. The rest of their pre-break schedule is pretty rough, with eight of the 10 games against teams with winning records.

Chris Sheridan of drops Atlanta four spots this week down to No. 10. Sheridan offers that this is probably a generous ranking and continues to insist that the Hawks are looking to shed payroll instead of add a center to the roster.

Gotta love the cupcake diet: They are 13-0 against sub-.500 teams, 3-8 against everyone else. Now Jason Collins is out at least 2 weeks. How are they not in the now-dormant Chris Kaman acquisition race? Oh yeah, the dreaded luxury tax. They are looking to shed payroll, not add it. This is a generous ranking. Very generous.

For more on the Atlanta Hawks check out SB Nation Atlanta, follow Jason Walker and Kris Willis, along with Peachtree Hoops on Twitter and check out the Peachtree Hoops Facebook Fan Page.

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