And it’s 18 in a row for the Hawks, who passed a major test

Dennis Schroder changed the game, then exulted in its outcome. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Dennis Schroder changed the game, then exulted in its outcome. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Dennis Schroder changed the game, then exulted in its outcome. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

For much of the great streak, the Atlanta Hawks had made it look easy. (It hadn’t been, but that’s how they’d made it appear.) Friday night was hard. Portland was in town, and the Trail Blazers are, to use Mike Krzyzewski’s boilerplate encomium, really good. The Hawks started without DeMarre Carroll, their best perimeter defender, and saw Thabo Sefolosha, his replacement, last 2 1/2 minutes before tweaking a hamstring.

When you’re flowing as freely as these Hawks, any hint of a hitch in the git-along is enough to give pause. And when the game wears on and the final period begins with the Hawks facing their first fourth-quarter deficit since — pause for emphasis — the 8:04 mark at Milwaukee on Dec. 27, which was 33 days and 17 games ago … well, you wondered if this was indeed the night the great streak ended.

It was not. The Hawks stacked 36 points on the Blazers over the final 12 minutes and won 105-99. They found a way to guard Portland when it mattered — Al Horford induced a key miss from LaMarcus Aldridge, who didn’t miss much en route to 37 points — and found a way not to be guarded themselves.

Dennis Schroder, the 21-year-old from Germany, changed the game at the beginning of the fourth, and after that there was no way it was changing back. (Not even with Horford making the silliest pass of his life with the Hawks up four and 18 seconds remaining.)

In a way, the Hawks needed such a game to remind themselves — and us, too — that they’re not just pretty but gritty. It’s one thing to win when the shots are falling, something else (and something more) to do it because you hung tough long enough for it to matter when the shots do fall. And when Mike Scott and Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap hit fourth-quarter treys (the first two off Schroder feeds), what might have been the streak-buster had become the 18th in succession.

The Hawks are now tied for the eighth-longest streak in single-season NBA history. Of the 10 previous teams to win this many or more, seven won NBA titles. On a night such as this, with another victory over another splendid opponent in the bank, it makes us ask if these Hawks might well be the team that wins the last NBA game played come June.

The game column from myajc: January 2015 — the month the Hawks made us believe.

Reader Comments 1

55 comments
SportsTopFan
SportsTopFan

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18... and counting ! ! !


The Atlanta Hawks are currently the "Crown Jewel" of  the National Basketball Association.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

The news media is beginning to project what the HAWKS will and will not do in the next six games as in how many games they will win and or lose, as for me I'm riding the HAWKS mindset, one game at a time win or lose.  GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

Not the prettiest win but hey, the HAWKS won.  I think there was a moment of getting use to the interchange of players in a game situation but the chemistry with JJ and Baze with a lil bit of Muscala will be fine.  Elton Brand is still holding down the fort.  The media is into counting games, can the HAWKS match this record but the HAWKS remain focused.  The HAWKS get no respect?  I don't think so, they get plenty of respect where it counts.

The game is played on the court, teams view the HAWKS as the team to beat and the HAWKS keep chugging along, one game at a time.  The news media and commentators can push the Cavaliers out there as the best team and the Cavs will get into the hype and show out and that's about it.  There are glaring weaknesses within the Cavaliers defense and BBall IQ.

The HAWKS won a game vs a team they were suppose to beat, in some folks mind they should have pummeled Philly.  A good team has to win those type of games and the HAWKS are a good team.  Egos will eventually rule the rest of the NBA minus San Antonio and Utah and the stars will come out to win the games with one on one play, they will fail when most needed and the HAWKS keep chugging and chugging along.  GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I'm not a regular follower of the NBA, but I am a sports fan and I appreciate great athletic performances and outstanding team play. So I've tuned in the past couple of Hawks games to see if this really is different. Now, over the past decades I've been cultured into expecting the star player isolation or one pass and launch offenses, players standing around in half court, multi-million dollar "stars" walking up the court, referees that might as well be wearing team uniforms, and second and third periods that are just plain unwatchable. But wow, where did this come from? A team where every player, starter or deepest off the bench, hustles, moves the ball, moves without the ball, passes up iso looks to feed the open man, defends with sustained grit and intensity, I mean, is this really the Hawks?


Now, if the owners would just get out of the way.

Sautee
Sautee

Hey Mark, too bad it took you three months before you noticed that we have a pretty good basketball team. Late to the party again.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Based on the performances last season by the Falcons (just saying that you have good players and clutch players --  and actually having good players and clutch players -- are way two different things . . . . and by the Braves (who had a grease fire on the kitchen stove last year, but then decided to let it burn their whole house down (to protect Fredi Gonzalez?  I mean like, after this fire, who could possible blame Fredi for the upcoming last finish this year?)  ---  it looks like Atlanta is going to finally morph into basketball  town. And after all of the recent frustrations with the Falcons and Braves, it is not only finally here and fun to watch, but just in the nick of time. 


It is a good thing for the Falcons and Braves and their owners (not for everyone else in Atlanta) that they started their campaigns when they did to abandon perfectly good and serviceable 20 -25 year old stadiums, that really only needed some repairs, renovation work, and some freshening up, in favor of nearly two billion dollars worth of tax payer funded brand new stadiums. 


Believe me. If the money was coming out of the pockets of those who will most benefit from unnecessary new stadiums, and not the  taxpayers, the stadium repairs and renovations would now be well under way.


If these owners were starting those campaigns after their 2014 seasons, they would not be getting the time of day from any public entity (not even Cobb County --  where law and order and personal accountability are not universally accepted concepts - the politician are exempt) --  for spending that kind of public money to watch losing teams for the next who knows how long? 


Let's just hope and pray that after having a tremendous year this time around (and winning the NBA championship), after many, many not so good years, the Hawks don't suddenly announce that they absolutely, positively just cannot go on without a big brand new, tax payer funded basketball arena for the 2017 season. 

BPJ
BPJ

I was there last night, and it reminded me of the atmosphere in 1993 at what turned out to be Dominique Wilkins's last game as a hawk. That night the Hawks, with the best record in the east, defeated the Sonics, with the best record in the west. The place was packed, everyone was excited………..and the next day the Hawks traded their star for Danny Manning.


This team is different, in that there isn't one dominant star. I see them (assuming good health) at least getting to the conference final, with good prospects to go to the NBA finals. Last night felt like a possible preview.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@BPJ You can't predict conference finalists in the NBA at the end of January. Especially talking about a newcomer team like the Hawks! You people need to calm down and see as time goes on....



CHILL!!!!!


partlycloudy
partlycloudy

Great for the Hawks.  Now everyone go to the games and cheer.  Hopefully the Falcons can do better next year.

So much for the Braves, let Cobb have them.

Acworthdon
Acworthdon

Sorry sports fans but ALL Atlanta sports teams are looked down on by the sports writers and "reporters"  as the  bottom of the attention grid. ATL  is mentioned only in the last breath at the end of any program. Does not matter what is happening so the "in" reporters are out of Atlanta! Elijah is exactly correct the reporters are all pulling for "the stars" because they must so they can gain some time with the big guy's. So, we'll do it without them as usual.  And you are right Elijah, we will feed on their disrespect! 

Elijah_Snow
Elijah_Snow

Just watched an ESPN video of Stephen A. Smith talking about how the Cavs are better than the Hawks, and he actually used the logic of "Stars" getting the benefit of questionable calls in the post-season.  SO the Cavs are better because the refs will bend the rules in their favor?  HUH???


Part of me wants to scream "no respect!", but the better part says "Hate is our fuel, so please keep talking."


Go Hawks, baby!



Pinball34
Pinball34

Im asking anyone, why in the H. E. double hockey sticks has there not been a mention in the last two issues of Sports Illustrated about the Hawks? How is that oossible? What does it take? In the issue I got yesterday had an article on the feeaking Charlotte Hornets. Do the S. I. People not look at the standings? Do we need a better publicist? Somebody fill me in...

Elijah_Snow
Elijah_Snow

@Pinball34  Are u serious?  Why, in the name of God, would you want SI coverage??  The only time I wanna see my teams in that rag is after they win the championship.  Otherwise, it's a total jinx. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Pinball34

How is that "oossible"? 

A more relevant question might be how can anything be "oossible"?

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Pinball34 Because SI, ESPN anybody other than our little hometown doofwad bloggers, have seen a solid, persistent history of the Hawks (and all other Atlanta professional sports teams) choke like sick dogs when the postseason comes around.

rockinreel
rockinreel

@DawgNole  Who gives a crap about your opinion on spelling errors.  I want the five seconds of my life back reading your stupid opinionated BS about spelling.  Go read a dictionary and get off this site Mr. Perfect.  This is about sports not freaking spelling.

brando27
brando27

"Of the 10 previous teams to win this many or more, seven won NBA titles." That includes our Hawks.
It's actually 7 of 9 teams won the Championship.
(8-of-10 hopefully after this year)

Wilbo
Wilbo

@MarkBradley Hello, Little Markie Boy! How many times would you say you have predicted over the last decade and 1/2 that some Atlanta pro sports team was gonna roll into the postseason and obliterate everybody in their path? Only to have them wilt like steamed spinach and you end up looking the fool?


Can you say, "Slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow learner?"


When the hawks steam, roll, dance, slide, limp, stagger, back, whimper or whatever into the postseason and fall flat on their face - as history absolutely suggests they will do - I want to be one of the first to laugh in your face.


And, dude, don't they pay you enough at this poor excuse for a 'big city' paper - they do pay you, right? -  to buy some decent looking clothes? And do they not have somebody with enough gumption to suggest that you wash your face and comb your hair and perk up to maybe at least 1/2 awake before you record your on-line sessions.


You look like a dog, man! Have some pride, will ya?

Classof98
Classof98

What these Hawks are doing this season is surreal.  It makes the Braves' 1991 season look mundane and humdrum in comparison.

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

If the Hawks make it to the NBA finals and win it, only then can you talk about the 1991 Braves' season as slightly mundane in comparison.

Ultraman8
Ultraman8

Of course, this is all scripted to make the price of the Hawks go up.  NBA wants a Miami vs cleveland  conference final.

kreedham
kreedham

@Ultraman8

As much as they might want that, the teams will actually have something to say about it.  Hawks have a pretty good chance!

David McCallum
David McCallum

@Ultraman8 Cleveland yes. Miami absolutely not! I really believe the Hawks can take out an offensively challenged Bulls team in the playoffs.

daculajones
daculajones

AND....btw.


Here's an idea.  The Seahawks have the now famous "12th Man" fan base.  In basketball, the parallel would be the "6th Man".  But with the Hawks team so deep in using almost everyone every night.  Coach Bud always says 15 deep team. 


The Hawks fans should start a "16th Man" fan base.  T-Shirts on sale soon on Amazon.

daculajones
daculajones

I'm enjoying this run as much as anyone.  This has been great basketball to watch.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves on a playoff run.  This team has gotten a ton of respect for what it has accomplished so for.  The point Cowherd, and others, have made can't be just pushed aside.  We, here in Atlanta, have seen this before from the Falcons and too many times from the Braves.  A big regular season performance does not mean a big playoff run.  This is especially true for the NBA. All of the contending teams will ramp up their level of play come playoff time.  The Hawks team play playoff level basketball every night.  So, everyone knows what to expect from the Hawks come April.  And this team is still young to the system.  You cant deny that this has become a real Cinderella season. The best part about this team is that they are all young to the system and next year could be even bigger than this year.



DawgNole
DawgNole

@daculajones

BINGO!

ATL pro sports fans have been down this road before. ONE championship in 160-plus seasons of competition over 48 years leaves lasting scars that can only be erased with postseason success, which obviously has proven elusive so far.

Let's see where we are in 3 months. Meanwhile, we can still enjoy this unprecedented run of excellence.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@daculajones Idiots like Brat Lee and Schultzee have no clue whatsoever about perspective. None. They could watch one strong Braves game in April and be shouting "World Series!" 


They are both like a used tire dealer in Greenwood, SC or some other such backwater hick town place see their high school quarterback go 11 for 15 one night against a pick-up team form the local Walmart and be stone cold convinced the dude was destined to be the next Joe Montana.


You can't fix stoopid, and you can't convince Atlantans to be cool for a few weeks and actually see how a team looks when the games get important.

OH_IO
OH_IO

Cowherd said yesterday that the Hawks will be out after the second round.


No respect. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH_IO

Playoff respect is EARNED. They've NEVER (in ATL) made it past Round 2. Hopefully this year will be different.

brando27
brando27

@DawgNole @OH_IO By that note, there's no reason to follow the NBA right now or even report on anything. I've never understood this line of reasoning. It's one thing to be a little guarded, but c'mon, Cowherd can't completely negate the season for three months.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@brando27 @DawgNole @OH_IO

You and OH_IO are the ones obsessing over Cowherd--not I. His opinion means nothing, but that doesn't change the fact that playoff respect is earned, and that the Hawks have earned NONE of it during their 46 years in ATL because of their INEVITABLE failure to make it past Round 2.

Nothing at all difficult to understand about "this line of reasoning." Is it more important to win in the regular season? Or in the playoffs?

Hello?

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

By April, if all keeps going well and the Hawks stay healthy, the crowds at Philips will be standing and cheering for 10 minutes at a time.  The Hawks will ride that wave.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@PeachtreeBart

IF they stay healthy. That's always a nagging concern as the regular season winds down. Hawks have been pretty fortunate so far--the nicks to DeMarre and Thabo and notwithstanding. Just have to hope it lasts.

DenverDawg
DenverDawg

wish I was still there...  a long time since Doc, Moses, Nique, Wittman, Carr, Levingston, Webb & Reggie...

GetontheGusBus
GetontheGusBus

@DenverDawg Thats what I keep telling my kids! We are seeing the best bball since the 80's. I have to say this might be the best Hawks team yet!

GeorgeSteele
GeorgeSteele

Oh, mercy Mercy me! This ain't how the Hawks are supposed to be. Unbelievable folks get with it and support this team to the very very end. We may never have a team like this again in Atlanta in any pro sport.

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Bench mark reached and conquered. (with two MIA).  Great Job Team. GO HAWKS !!!

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

Feb 6th vs Golden State and Mar 18th at Golden State may be a preview of the finals. It's hard to imagine the Hawks losing 4 out 7 to any team. 

We really need the Hawks to go all the way into June, as the Braves may be done by then!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Win No. 17 (Jan. 28 against Brooklyn), the Hawks didn’t trail in a single fourth quarter. They trailed in the fourth quarter against Portland on Friday and inside the final three minutes against lowly Philly on Saturday. They won both, but both were […]