The great streak ends, but the Hawks march merrily onward

The splendid Anthony Davis slams the door on the Hawks. (Gerald Herber/AP photo)

The splendid Anthony Davis slams the door on the Hawks. (Gerald Herber/AP photo)

The splendid Anthony Davis slams the door on the Hawks. (Gerald Herber/AP photo)

The great streak was ended by a great player. If it wasn’t quite like the game of Jan. 9, 1972 — when the Lakers’ 33-game run was ended in Milwaukee on a day when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 39 points — it was as close a facsimile as the neo-NBA can offer. Kareem was the league’s best player then; Anthony Davis is its best now, and he went for 29 points and 13 rebounds. It happens.

What’s remarkable is that it took so long — from two days after Christmas to the second day of February — to happen to these Atlanta Hawks. They won 19 games in succession. Only four teams in NBA annals have done better: The Lakers of Wilt and West in 1971-72; the Heat of LeBron and D-Wade and Bosh in 2012-2013; the Rockets of Yao and McGrady in 2007-2008, and the Bucks of Kareem and the Big O in 1970-71.

Of those four, only the Rockets didn’t win the NBA title, and they had an excuse: Yao Ming suffered a stress fracture in his foot during their 22-game run and was lost for the duration. Houston was eliminated in Round 1 of the playoffs by Utah. Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap were then Jazz subs.

Let’s face it: These Hawks were way past due for a clunker. They’ve played at an insanely exalted level since Thanksgiving, winning 33 of 35 entering Monday’s game in New Orleans, and their performances on the final weekend of the streak wasn’t quite as seamless as those that came before. (It didn’t help that DeMarre Carroll missed those two games, and that Thabo Sefolosha was lost 2 1/2 minutes into the game against Portland.)

From Win No. 2 in the run (Dec. 30 against Cleveland) through 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 at home. Monday marked the Hawks’ first road game since Jan. 17, and the arena across the street from the Superdome saw their counter reset from 19 to zero.

Ah, well. Nobody wins ’em all, and these Hawks won more games in succession than Jordan’s Bulls or Russell’s Celtics (or anybody’s Celtics, for that matter) ever did. They’re leading the East by seven games. According to NumberFire by way of ESPN, the Hawks had a 13 percent chance of claiming the conference’s top seed before they won 19 straight; they now have a 97 percent chance of being the No. 1 seed.

We might never again see a tear quite like this, which isn’t to suggest that the rest will be silence. They’ve got a significant home date against Washington on Wednesday, and come Friday they’ll play host to Golden State, which inched back ahead in the chase for the NBA’s best record, in the biggest regular-season game this franchise has known since the days of Dominique. The Hawks lost a game Monday, but they’ll win a bunch more before they’re through.

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
Jerry916
Jerry916

Standing Ovation for the Hawks!!!!!


They've played a lot of games with just a day in between, and they appear to be wearing down.  The defense slowly tailed off over the last 3 - 4 games, and their offense stuttered, as there was more dribbling than usual, and a lot of missed shots (lay-ups and open 3's).


Hopefully they will be able to recharge during the All-Star break, and come back for the home stretch healthy.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

Brook Lopez is soft, injury prone and can be shut down and his defense sucks.  The HAWKS mental fortitude is there, it did not go anywhere.  The HAWKS are the same team that walked through their 6 game west coast trip.  The HAWKS lose the next four then the HAWKS lose the next four, this is the NBA, there is an ebb and flow.

Winning is good and the HAWKS are definitely winners and if they can win 17 out of the next 33 it is more then any of us expected and if they get to the 2nd rd of the playoffs I deem the season as a huge success.  Coach Bud and DF will do what's right for the club in order to get better.  Pero is coming around, hell, he's trying to drive to the hoop.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Thanks Hawks for providing this town with some excitement while our other teams struggle for new identities.  I'm hopeful that the recent play will translate to success in the playoffs and that it won't delay a sale of the team because the current owners decide to up the price.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

You could see this coming the past 3 games. Had to end some time.

km42
km42

Could use an upgrade to Antic, but its not happening.


The defense needs to step up in place of losing Thabo.  Watch DMC's overall minutes this week coming back from injury.


Jenkins getting some run, but he and Scott need to play on both ends.


Adjustments will be made and we'll be ready for the Wizards.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Id be careful with the desire for a trade.  The 2 biggest in-season trades this year have actually made both teams worse.  Dallas with Rondo is now no longer a top 10 offensive team, and the Thunder getting Dion Waiters was a huge mistake!   Waiters takes bad shots, and thinks hes on the same level as Westbrook and Durant.

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

The link on the AJC Sports front page to this article called you "Bardley". How long have you been at the AJC again?

falconfever
falconfever

Off nite/ it happens/ Pelicans were hot  but Teague and Schroeder need to FINISH

peanutgallery
peanutgallery

My concern is that the Hawks looked tired last night. Hope they don't run out of gas before the playoffs arrive.

moboman
moboman

We do need some size.  Wouldn't mind Brook Lopez off the bench if the Nets are still trying to unload him.  WE got enough pieces at the end of the bench to see how badly they want to get rid of him without messing up the chemistry.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

You realize what the Hawks just did as a team, physical, stressful, mentally but they did it as a team. Needless to say we have a coach that does not need our advise. I am sure he will be in Atlanta a long time. Keep going to those games Hawk fans.

GASports
GASports

They need another big. Antic needs to be on the bench or part of a trade. And the writing was on the wall for this team.  Jeff Teague continues to blow easy layups, Milsap nearly travels everytime he touches the ball, Horford is STILL too small, Korver is gonna have a heart attack if he continues to run the way he does cause teams are blanketing him and the loss of Sefalosa is gonna hurt.


Overall the Hawks need more bigs. And the Warriers are going to destroy them if they dont take better care of the ball on offense. They have been really sloppy lately. 

HootyGoot
HootyGoot

If they lose three in a row all the haters will be back calling for coach Bud's job.

Jmonty
Jmonty

Now they got the pressure of keeping the win streak gone, we can go back to just playing B-Ball and winning.  Just win 4-5 games at a time and you'll be fine.   The team is full of unselfish people and that is why we are doing great.   Even heard a commentator call the Hawks the NBA's most boring team.  Well...  at 40 wins.. I'll take boring. 

pride
pride

Thinking we need a defensive minded big body off the bench to offset the rebounding troubles against the bigger teams.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

The HAWKS made an unbelievable run, sometimes they LQQKED flawless in their execution.  The HAWKS have established BBall hunger again across Ga and fans are feeling the hunger pains of mediocrity subsiding.  The run these players have achieved takes a lot out of you as a player and sometimes teams run into an opposing team that shoots better and play better that night, no biggie, if the HAWKS go off course a few games it is still no biggie.

We have witnessed the heart of this team and for a loss to panic folks would be a lil odd for a hardcore fan.  The HAWKS will continue to take it one game at a time, one game is no more important then the next unless it's the seventh game of the NBA championship.  The HAWKS went through their west coast trip with good success.  

The HAWKS have not faltered against the better teams in the East, if they haven't proved to you by now they are one helluva team, they never will.  This nonsense about length needs to be LQQKED at:  The Clippers, Pistons, Houston, Portland, Memphis, Washington, Chicago along with Toronto has already been answered and the HAWKS DID DAMN GOOD!!!!!

I want the HAWKS to continue they way they play together as a team.  Coach Bud will make adjustments and the players will also but to think 3-4 games will tell you something about the HAWKS then you have not been watching em.

GO HAWKS!!!!!

David McCallum
David McCallum

The next two games will tell a lot about the Hawks and how they deal with adversity. I'm not ready to panic but I see some trouble ahead for this team. The lack of defensive intensity being the most obvious to me. It's unfair to say that if this team is for real they would have to beat the Wizards and Warriors, but my expectation is for them to win both games. This team has chance to reestablish themselves in a significant way and must not allow the opportunity to slip away. I am chomping at the bit to see their response to last night's lost. I am a huge Hawks fan living in Brooklyn, NY.

LEcho
LEcho

Let's show support to a team that really has no 'I' in it. Go Hawks!

WW5
WW5

it was no surprise that the streak ended.  the offense and defense has been declining over the last 4 games.  the team has become sloppy and not paying attention to the basics.  coach bud has got to be steamed that a player with the size and bulk of antic lives 22 feet from the rim.

Caddyman66
Caddyman66

@BravesFan79

Let's NEVER forget the Nique' trade in 93 the doomed this franchise. I would "stand pat" at the deadline...

moboman
moboman

@BravesFan79 Hawks arent gonna make any move that will disrupt the chemistry and balance they have now.  Would have to be a trade totally in our favor.  

David McCallum
David McCallum

GM@moboman Would be a terrible pickup. Come on Hawk fan moboman, put your GM cap on and get serious. Brook Lopez?????

David McCallum
David McCallum

@pride That's what I thought Payne was. I'm getting the uneasy feeling that Hawks management view Payne as a bust.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@David McCallum This team is top 3 in defensive efficiency. How do they lack intensity? And how does a team that last lost 3 of its last 36 need to "reestablish themselves?"

Jerry916
Jerry916

@David McCallum @pride The Hawks have a lot of veteran players, so playing time for Payne is going to only come if someone is injured.  Too much talent in from of him.  It takes either time or a very special talent to come into the NBA and be a force early in your career.