Last time we checked in on Al Horford, he was still below what he felt was his top conditioning and Mike Budenholzer was working Al back into heavy rotation, or at least what passes for it with Coach Bud and these amazing Atlanta Hawks.
Checking back with Al before Wednesday's win over the Brooklyn Nets, Al said he's feeling great and back in the swing of things.
"I feel good, just happy to see the team playing well together and being able to contribute like I know I can....makes me feel good," said Horford.
Then, as fellow Gators, the conversation turned to this Atlanta Hawks team and the back to back championship teams that Horford anchored and if there was anything about the two that felt familiar.
"There's a lot of similarities," thought the former Gator big man. "Just they way that Coach Bud wants us to play resembles that and it's the way I enjoy playing. It's a lot of fun playing here."
It takes some doing, but you can squeeze some of that championship team into places on the Hawks with Carroll playing the Brewer role, Korver playing a super-sized Lee Humphrey and Teague as Taurean Green. Paul Millsap takes on a more low-key Joakim Noah role as Horford partner in front court crime, but the results are eerily similar.
"Totally," agreed Horford. "and it's funny the way that it's the most fun playing and that coach wants to play like that. It's something I feel very comfortable playing this way."
Those Gator teams were tough to stop because any of the five on the floor could beat you. If you overplayed Humphrey to stop the three point beating, Green may just take it to the hole. Or Noah and Horford could play a devastating high-low game, using their elite passing to beat defenses trying to cheat out to the wings.
And just like those back to back Gator teams, opponents couldn't focus on one guy on the floor to take away. "Yeah, especially having a lot of threats on the floor. Whether it's Kyle or DeMarre or when Paul takes over or with Jeff -- it keeps you guessing and a good problem to have."
Can the Hawks go all the way like Horford's Gator teams did....twice?
"It's been impressive stuff, so far," says Horford. "It's about the journey and we're in the middle of it right now. We're not thinking that far ahead. We understand that if we keep playing at this high level we'll be in position to do some special things."
"I think the best thing about this team is that nobody is getting ahead of themselves. We understand that the most important game is now and take it day by day like that."
They have to, I don't. I also see the similarities between this Hawks team and the Gator teams that won two championships over what was considered to be better pro talent on the floor. The Hawks may not sport the All NBA First teamers, but they are hard to take down.
17 wins in a row is downright collegiate. A championship wouldn't be bad either.