Deal with it: The Atlanta Hawks are the class of the NBA

Another powerful performance by a powerhouse club. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Another powerful performance by a powerhouse club. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Another powerful performance by a powerhouse club. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

Another powerful performance by a powerhouse club. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

The Atlanta Hawks — best team in the NBA.

OK, let’s hear it. Let’s hear the tired blather about how they’ll flop in the playoffs because they lack a Go-To Guy, because they’ll wilt under the heat of postseason, because … well, because they’re an Atlanta team and folding is what Atlanta teams do. Go ahead. I’m ready with my rebuttal.

Here it is: Hawks 124, Warriors 116.

And here: The Hawks made 49.4 percent of their shots and 55.6 percent of their 3-pointers against the NBA’s best defense.

Also here: The Hawks scored 72 points in the second half against the team with the NBA’s best defense.

And here as well: The Hawks put seven men — five starters and Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore — in double figures. (Dennis Schroder finished with nine points and had another dauntless fourth quarter.)

And here, too: The Hawks are 42-9, having gone 21-1 since the day after Christmas and 35-3 since Thanksgiving.

Show me a better team right now. You can’t, can you? Because there isn’t one.

This doesn’t mean the Hawks are a lock to win the NBA title. Nobody is. The Warriors aren’t, and they’re really good. LeBron’s Cavs aren’t. Derrick Rose’s Bulls aren’t. Much can and will happen between now and April, but we’re well past the midpoint and, at this moment and for a while now, the Hawks have been the class of the league.

I know this will taken some acclimatization. We’re not used to any Atlanta team, let alone the Hawks, being the best. But you need to start tossing those old assumptions into yonder garbage can. They no longer apply. This is a great team we’re watching, these Atlanta Hawks. A great team, I said.

From myajc, here’s the Hawks-Warriors game column: For once, an Atlanta team rises to its moment.

Reader Comments 1

71 comments
NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

Bring up Payne in March as a 6th or 7th man off the bench ... who cares if he can't shoot ... use him to get rebounds and blocks ... and to draw fouls and intimidate folks under the basket. It is the one piece that we are lacking. GO HAWKS

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

For the first time in probably a decade I went to a Hawks games.  To say the least it was refreshing to behold excellent coaching, players playing as a team and knowing there's a general manager that knows how to pick players.  Yes it's a new experience for a fan of any Atlanta franchise.  HOWEVER and until they make it to the third round of the playoffs that's when I'll truly believe. 

crackbaby
crackbaby

Welcome to the bandwagon, Mr. Bradley.  No need to fret, there is ample capacity for more as this team is strong enough to pull a heavy load.

SeanLB
SeanLB

This has been brewing since late last season.  A solid scheme with unselfish play leads to dominance.


I'm not sure if they'll win the title, but rest assured, any team capable of beating the Hawks in 7 deserves it.  

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

These guys have made up for a lot of the negatives in Atlanta pro sports over the past 2 years! I almost don't even care about BJ Upton any more because of these guys...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TreeRollins

Over the past TWO years?! Say what?!

Try the past 48 years. You'll be far more accurate.


atlfanman
atlfanman

Watching these Hawks play so intelligently is one of the best things that has happened in the city's pro sports history and to borrow a phrase from a commercial, "I'm loving it"!


Very good article that points to the facts, putting things into proper perspective without going over the edge!


GO HAWKS!

TheVoice
TheVoice

Please tell ESPN that the Hawks exist.   All they can focus on are the mediocre Cavs!

Akiva Eiger
Akiva Eiger

@TheVoice Wrong on both, even espn is all over the Hawks, and the Cavs are no longer mediocre they are legit second best team in the east.

Life is Good
Life is Good

Coach Bud is the difference from this Hawks team and other Atlanta pretender teams.  Just look at how the players get along and believe in the system.  They are having a lot of fun out there.

Zapp
Zapp

I happen to watch an interview with an ESPN commentator on the Hawks beating San Francisco.  He made comment after comment about the Hawks being untried in the playoffs.  Did he watch last years series between Hawks and Indiana.  Yes they did extend themselves to beat the Hawks, but they were shot in the next series (Miami) after handling them in during the season.  That suffocating defense cannot be underestimated, and the Hawks were playing without their center last year.  I've never seen a team with so many players who can shoot as well as they do.  You stop one scorer and you have four more to deal with.

California Dawg
California Dawg

I'm excited about this team's success because I've been a Hawks fan for a long time. One of my favorite Hawks teams were from the late 80s. Doc Rivers at point Randy Whitman at 2 guard some guy named Dominique at the 3 Kevin Willis at the 4 and Tree Rollins at he 5. Cliff Levingston, Antoine Carr, and John Battle were key reserves off the bench. That was a good team. I also remember Priest Lauderdale,JR Rider (talented player but was a head case), Ed Gray (another talented player) Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright (RIP). They all played on bad teams. I say all this because if you're a genuine Atlanta Hawks fan you should be very excited about the success of this year's team! Some of you may not be old enough to remember some of the players I just mentioned and that's ok. You maybe didn't become a Hawks fan until the Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby led teams and that's ok as well. The bottom line is we're fans of the Atlanta Hawks and we all can tell the naysayers to go to hell! Let's sit back and enjoy this magical season and see where it takes us! No bandwagon fans allowed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  


I Believe! Go Hawks!

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

@California Dawg  Thanks for the kind words concerning our beloved HAWKS.  The Warriors is a team I would like to see the HAWKS battle in a seven game series, both clubs exhibit the purest BBall going.  GSW is unbelievable, a highly skilled and athletic team.  I know the game could have gone south for the HAWKS but they were fighting to show the League they are relevant because GSW has that status already, they are a well respected team.

Coach Bud and DF has changed the culture of HAWK BBall along with its mindset.  The Love of the game and spirit of competition is the goal.  I don't know if we will see another game like the classic we all witnessed last night but I surely hope so, that was BBall at its finest, both teams showed the world what and how the game is suppose to be played.  We are elated about our HAWKS and me personally really want to see a seven game series vs GSW.

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

California Dawg
California Dawg

I enjoyed the win just like everyone else but one thing happened at the end of the game really impressed me. Jeff Teague stole the ball from Steph Curry with about 5 or 6 seconds left. He could've went in for an emphatic game ending dunk but chose not to. He dribbled the clock out because the game was in hand. That's a true professional sportsman. That's what this team is made of from 1 to 12. Josh Smith was in a similar situation a few years ago in the playoffs. What does he do? He attempts a between the legs in mid air dunk and misses! He apologized later to the opposing coach but that didn't take away from him showing up the other team. I live in the heart of Golden St. Warrior country and let me tell ya last night's win opened a lot of people's eyes out here!

Wilbo
Wilbo

Just like you can't wash the scent of a skunk out of your clothes w 1 wash in a regular detergent, you can't wash the stench of gutless longterm loserism out of a franchise's character w a nice winning run in the early middle portion of the regular season.


When they find a way to choke like dogs in the (or maybe even before the) postseason, you and your doofwad counterpart, Schooltzee' will be right here in this useless rag of a paper, blabbering on about how minus some injury or twist of fate or the prevalence of rabbit flatulence in Greece (you will come up w some excuse, no mafter how ludicrous) they woulda been right there in the hunt for the NBA championship.


The Atlanta Hawks have proven themselves to be gutless losers when it comes down to the big games in the spring. Until they prove themselves to be otherwise by actually winning when it matters, your elementary school level ramblings & wishful thinking mean about as much as thimbleful of talcum powder tossed up in a windstorm.

Wilbo
Wilbo

And, hey, Brat Li, while you're at it predicting huge things for the Atlanta Hawks, why don't you go ahead and tell us (again) how the reorganization of the Braves will definitely bring home another WS title in just a few short years!!!


You've only tried that about 6-8-10 times and ended up looking goofy every time, exactly like you are going to look when the Hawks fade out n away this time.

BasketballTopFan
BasketballTopFan

We agree Mark Bradley the Atlanta Hawks are at the TOP of the class  !!!

Charles5469
Charles5469

yo,keep writing dude, I'm PUMPED!  GO HAWKS!!!!!

mike8472
mike8472

The Hawks have a GREAT general manager in Dan Ferry and he put together this fantastic team. We have something that the other Atlanta teams can't say they have and that is an experienced playoff tested Coach.


Coach Budenholzer spent the last 18 seasons as the faithful disciple of one of the greatest NBA coaches in the form of Gregg Popovich. He's proving that he's learned well under his mentor.


Most importantly, he was under Coach Pop for all of his appearances in the playoffs up until coming to Atlanta a season ago. This means he's already battle tested in the playoffs.


The Coach can't play for his team but he can guide, mentor, challenge them, rest them, and make the right substitutions, and call the right plays at the right time and Coach Budenholzer has proven he can do this time and time again.

They are the San Antonio Spurs of the East and they're a younger version of them at that. This means they are very deadly.

Great job Ferry, Budenholzer, and especially players themselves. GO HAWKS!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@mike8472

Budenholzer's story is even more remarkable when you consider the rocky start (DUI) he got in ATL.

Brave44
Brave44

Great night for Atlanta sports....Great game, great sportsmanship with an emphasis on sportsmanship. It appears Coach B is a professor of both.

jerunamo
jerunamo

I love how we are winning, but I want to tell you that this will mean absolutely nothing if we get to the playoffs and bomb. Stay focused, healthy, and hit the gas on our opponents in the playoffs all the way to the Finals. Don't settle for having the best record in the NBA.

DS
DS

Great game last night. Both teams played well. The Hawks are so much fun to watch this year. Go Hawks!

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

@Dasdguy I know 4 in 5 is difficult, it was difficult for the HAWKS also, if the HAWKS lost this game they would have been crucified by the BBall media.  I definitely agree with you on that.  GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

MB: "Let’s hear the tired blather about how they’ll flop in the playoffs because they lack a Go-To Guy, because they’ll wilt under the heat of postseason, because … well, because they’re an Atlanta team and folding is what Atlanta teams do. Go ahead. I’m ready with my rebuttal."

_____________________

There is no rebuttal. We obviously DON'T KNOW YET if they'll "flop in the playoffs, but that's exactly what they've done consistently for 46 years, which means it's NOT "tired blather."

They've had a magnificent regular season to this point, including "beating the best" last night. Will they win a second-round playoff series for the first time ever in ATL? We'll find out soon enough, and then and only then will we know the true character of this team.

Akiva Eiger
Akiva Eiger

@DawgNole Its tired blather because its stupid to begin with. What completely different teams did is irrelevant to this team.  The bulls or no more likely to succeed because they won six times with Jordan.

    Sure they have to win over skeptics that a team without the go to guy can win.  But game after game I'm seeing the go to guy be a detriment.  Westbrook heaving up bad shots even Curry while the Hawks always get good open looks because the go to guy is the open guy.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Akiva Eiger @DawgNole

It's not stupid or irrelevant at all. Winning breeds winning; losing breeds losing--and the ATL Hawks have ALWAYS been postseason losers. There's a reason they call this city "Losersville."

It's on the team to prove that this year is finally going to be different in the playoffs--for the first time ever in ATL. Based on the regular season so far, it appears that the Hawks have a solid chance at doing just that, but we won't know until Round 2 of the postseason.

Not that difficult a concept to understand.

JoeTess
JoeTess

The Hawks may not have a "go to" guy, but they definitely have a DONT GO TO GUY and that's Pero Antic. He needs to "go".

TJ1230
TJ1230

@JoeTess 

you are right on point, Joe.  Antic is a major weak link, offensively and defensively. 

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

These Hawks are legit. The way they're built buffers them from slumps and keeps them consistent. They aren't playing over their heads, they're just playing. They have a better shot than most to bring home a title.

Football Redneck
Football Redneck

Danny Ferry.you have built a great team starting with a great coach.The Hawk's definitely play as a TEAM!!

Ugaboss
Ugaboss

You know something will happen. They will blow it somewhere down the line, someone will get hurt. This is Atlanta! GEORGIA.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

Ole school here, comparing the Braves to the HAWKS is like comparing fish eggs to caviar and either hop on the train or get off.  Fans do not ride side-saddle or do trick riding.  The HAWKS are legitimate in all aspects.

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

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

I'm happy for the Hawks, but Ive seen this before. Remember the early 90's Atlanta Braves?!?

That being said, I think Bud can bring us a few playoff series wins............Im riding the train ftm.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Iluvnutella

If he only brings us more than one playoff series win this season, it will be a FIRST for the ATL Hawks.

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@Iluvnutella I remember the Braves winning the World Series early in the run.  If the Hawks don't win the championship this season I'll be perfectly happy with them winning one within the next few seasons.  I'm just glad they are a legitimate great team today.  Only 1 team can win it all.  Just don't blow this team up like they did the 87-88 version.

Wilbo
Wilbo

DawgnIT Early in the run? The run began 1991. Lost an either-team-could-win WS to the Minnesota Twins when the drunk old fool Booby Cox woke up Charley Leibrandt out of his grave and shoved him out on the mound as a reliever for God's sakes in game 6. 92 lost the WS to a much stronger Toronto team. 93 Braves wilted like steamed spinach against the Phillies in the NLCS. Weren't going to make the playoffs in 1994. Finally squeaked one out against Cleveland in 1995. Had the 96 WS won against the Yankees and choked like dogs. Haven't put up any real fight in the postseason, since.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

I agree with the article.  The HAWKS are a very good team and if by some chance can cap off the year they will be seen as a great team for this season.  The mindset will stay the same for the HAWKS, "one game at a time," and we as fans will follow their mindset.  This is special for all HAWKS fans and we are appreciative.  GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

Dawggie
Dawggie

Congrats to the Hawks players, the HC, and GM.

They are a rarity - an NBA team that plays as a TEAM, and a team that's fun to watch.

Ersatz
Ersatz

The best Hawks game I've ever been to.  The crowd was behind the team all the way.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Iluvnutella @TOJacket @Ersatz Used to have Falcon season tickets...........Steelers and the Bears have quite a following..................Yankees are like hemorrhoids, they drop down and never go back up.

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