The Atlanta Hawks have found themselves on a winning streak as of late and seem to have their eyes set to be in the playoff race. Atlanta had a couple of close wins and a couple of convincing victories. Yes, the teams they have beaten might not be the best, but it is important to get the wins even if the team is out with injury.
Now, after a successful week, let’s take a look at where the Hawks rank in this weeks power ranking roundup.
NBA.com — No. 18
The Hawks are 5-0 under Nate McMillan, even though they’ve trailed three of the five games by 14 points or more. On Saturday, they rebounded from an ugly first quarter to outscore the Kings, 76-48, over the next 24 minutes. And in the other four games, they’ve won the fourth quarter by a total score of 136-78, shooting 23-for-42 (55%) from 3-point range and 29-for-31 (94%) from the free throw line. The highlight, of course, was Tony Snell’s buzzer-beating game-winner in Tampa on Thursday, with credit to Kevin Huerter for the timely cut that drew Norman Powell into the paint. Snell is 36-for-63 (57%) on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, the best mark among 229 players who’ve attempted at least 50.
Danilo Gallinari is also starting to find a rhythm, even though he’s been in and out of the starting lineup, starting at “center” in two games that Clint Capela has missed. Gallinari has averaged 19.5 points on 49% shooting over the last four games, and the Hawks have outscored their opponents by almost 24 points per 100 possessions in his 151 minutes over the five-game winning streak.
Games against the Rockets and Thunder this week give the Hawks a real opportunity to surpass last season’s win total (20) and climb over .500 for the first time since they were 10-9 on Feb. 1. But then we see just how real this improvement under McMillan is. Their game against the Lakers on Saturday is the start of an eight-game trip through the Western Conference in which six of the eight opponents are teams with winning records.
ESPN — No. 17
Atlanta continued its winning ways under interim coach Nate McMillan with three straight wins after the All-Star break. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, coupled with his two wins before the break, McMillan is the first coach to win his first five games as an interim coach since Mike Woodson did it with the Knicks in 2011-12. Win No. 5 came against the Cavaliers on Sunday, and it was a rare one in the sense that Trae Young had only 14 points. That’s his lowest point total in an Atlanta win since his rookie season.
CBS Sports — No. 17
Looks like the Hawks got the message after Lloyd Pierce’s firing. Atlanta has won five straight games under interim coach Nate McMillan after beating the Raptors, Kings and Cavs this week. McMillan’s tenure has coincided with steady improvement from Danilo Gallinari, who averaged 18.3 points on 48 percent 3-point shooting in the three wins. Trae Young has been his normal self and Clint Capela has been a beast on the boards and in the paint. If De’Andre Hunter can pick up where he left off when he returns from knee surgery, the Hawks could build some momentum in the second half.
As expected, the Hawks have moved up in the rankings after improved results. With another strong week, Atlanta could see their respect rise along with where they will rank in the power rankings. Feel excited fans, it looks like the team is slowly getting healthy and back together.