While western Conference teams have to grind out wins and perform at an optimum level every night, eastern conference teams seemingly just have to show up to get into the playoffs. As the season nears its halfway point, there are three teams that currently sit above .500 in the eastern conference with the Atlanta Hawks being one of the three. After losing several superstars in the previous offseasons, many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, yet the team sits third in the eastern conference and the Hawks are starting to present themselves as a dark-horse to come out of the east.
Atlanta continued their success of late with a 83-80 victory over the Houston Rockets. Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver led the way with 20 points a piece and combined for 12 rebounds and 7 assists. The Hawks controlled the game and held the Rockets offensive firepower in check for the majority of the game. The Hawks held James Harden and Dwight Howard to only 40 points combined and stymied Houston’s other offensive threats.
The Hawks have come on strong in recent weeks winning eight of the last 13 games and hanging with some of the best teams in the league, but are the Hawks a real threat in the battle for eastern conference supremacy? The Hawks have long held playoffs spots 3-6, but the team has never gotten over the hump and posed a real threat to the teams at the top.
This year poses the same problems that have plagued the team in years past in regards to star power and closing a game. The Hawks lack the true star playmaker that the team needs to get over the hump and the team’s postseason inexperience will doom the Hawks in the playoffs. Atlanta is a decent team with good players, but the Hawks do not have what it takes to soar with the NBA’s best.
Greg Douglas is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.