Despite a good week on the court, the Atlanta Hawks slipped a bit in this week’s power rankings roundup.
The Hawks and the Celtics were the East's two hottest teams since mid-December when they met Friday in Al Horford's grand return to the ATL. Boston wanted to win badly for Horford and ultimately did hush a crowd that gave the nine-season Hawk a chillier-than-expected reception, but Atlanta seems to be steadying itself after the recent tumult and trade speculation. Mike Dunleavy, in particular, suddenly looks pretty comfortable with his new club, based on the 20 points he provided in Sunday's home victory over Milwaukee.
On the other hand, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumps Atlanta up one spot to No. 11 due to their recent surge.
So the Hawks decided (for now) not to trade Paul Millsap and Mike Dunleavy not to walk away from the Hawks. It's a good thing, because Dunleavy provided a big lift off the bench against Boston and Milwaukee over the weekend, making six of his first eight 3s with his new team and registering a plus-34 in the two games. The comeback against Boston fell a little short, but Sunday's win over Milwaukee pushed the Hawks to 13-5 since early December and two games in the loss column ahead of both the Wizards and Bucks for fourth place in the East.
The Hawks hold steady at No. 8 in Matt Moore’s rankings for CBS Sports.
Out of nowhere, the Hawks win eight of nine. It was mostly bottom dwellers, but it gave them a 2.5-game lead for the 4th seed, and a pretty comfortable positioning. There's still no telling what they're going to do before the deadline. Paul Millsap's off the table? OK, they risk losing him for nothing, but whatever, he's good, try and keep him. However, they have the 21st-ranked offense in the league. If they want to get serious about a run, they need to add some weaponry.
Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin drops Atlanta two spots this week to No. 11.
They have pulled Paul Millsap off the trade market, which means they are making a run at the playoffs. They are considering bringing in Gary Neal as a veteran shooter to fill some of Kyle Carver’s minutes (along with Mike Dunleavy, who played well off the bench for them last week). If they are going to get the four seed in the East, they need wins in games like the ones against Detroit and Chicago this week.
Finally, The Crossover’s Jeremy Woo drops Atlanta one spot to No. 11.
Atlanta falls out of the Top 10 this week, but mostly because the Clippers got hot: the Hawks have won eight of their last nine, Tim Hardaway Jr. is randomly crushing it, and it sure sounds like Paul Millsap isn’t getting traded anymore.