Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Two consecutive off days couldn't have come at a better time for a tired Atlanta Hawks team who face a difficult back-to-back against the Heat and the Lakers starting on Tuesday.
We talked on Sunday a little bit how fatigue was playing a part in the recent skid by the Atlanta Hawks. Larry Drew and company had better hope that the two days off between Saturday's 93-80 loss to the Brooklyn Nets and Tuesday's matchup against the Miami Heat are enough to get their legs back under them. Atlanta won't have consecutive off days again until April and as the season ticks into its final weeks, the games are becoming much more important.
The Hawks have fallen all the way to seventh place in the Eastern Conference but are still within striking distance of the fourth seed as they trail Brooklyn by 2.5 games entering play on Monday. The problem for Atlanta is that things could get worse before they get better. The Hawks have lost two straight and five of six and face a Miami team on Tuesday that has won 18 straight games. On Wednesday the Hawks face a suddenly resurgent Lakers team that seems to be finding their stride after winning 8 of 10.
Phoenix comes to town on Friday where the Hawks will be looking to avenge a disappointing loss earlier this month that seemed to have started their recent funk. They head back out on the road again on Sunday for a critical game with the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. With the standings so tightly bunched the best way for Atlanta to move up is beating teams head-to-head. A win over the Nets will split the season series.
Compounding the Hawks problems is that they are now only 1.5 games in front of the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth seed. Atlanta will play Milwaukee three times over the month and a half of the season and will need to hold their own in that series to avoid a first round matchup against Miami.
Here is a closer look at the Atlanta Hawks' upcoming schedule:
Tuesday, March 12 - Hawks at Heat - 7:30 p.m. NBA TV
Wednesday, March 13 - Lakers at Hawks - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 15 - Suns at Hawks - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 - Hawks at Brooklyn - 8 p.m.