Just when we thought the Hawks were dead, they appear to have found some life and started a little winning streak.
John Schumann of NBA.com starts things off for us by moving Atlanta up to the No. 7 spot.
The Hawks already have as many losses between Thanksgiving and the All-Star break this season (7-5) as they did last season (36-5), but may have started to turn things around with strong finishes in weekend wins in Boston (25-11 in the last 5:05) and Orlando (8-4 in the final 3:13). With six guys averaging 12 points or more, they've scored 112 points per 100 possessions over their three-game winning streak.
Next, Marc Stein of ESPN.com moves the Hawks to No. 9.
Can't sum things up much neater than our palKevin Arnovitz did. The Hawks are superior to the opposition in eFG percentage, assists per game, getting to the line and limiting turnovers. But the Hawks' issues on the boards, as mentioned here last week, are largely why they're on a 48-win pace in the wake of last season's 60-22 mark.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com keeps the Hawks out of the top 10 and places them at No. 11.
The Hawks have looked more like their playoff-caliber selves while winning three straight. If a season-high six threes can’t help the struggling Kyle Korver(32.6% from three in December) get back on track, then maybe an inviting next few weeks of schedule will.
Matt Moore of CBSsports.com drops the Hawks to No. 14 and mentions their record in the division.
They're 4-1 vs. the tough Southeast Division and 1-4 vs. the Northwest. They are very much a team that you just apply the overall roughly 60 percent win percentage across the schedule. There's no real profile of who they beat or don't, except on the edges of the bell curve. They get trounced by good teams and manhandle bad ones. Everything in the middle is a toss-up.
Usatoday.com also drops the Hawks but this time to No. 13.
Paul Millsap is quietly having a really good season
Finally, Kurt Helin of NBCsports.com moves the Hawks up to No. 9.
Quality wins against Boston and Orlando last week. In his edition of the PBT Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (their Celtics insider) said he thought the Hawks were one of the teams most likely to break out of the crowded middle pack in the East and grab the two seed (and/or make it to the conference Finals).