First-place Hawks are winning without Joe Johnson

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 14, 2012
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By CHARLES ODUM AP Sports Writer The widely held assumption was the Hawks would take a step back this season after first-year general manager Danny Ferry cleared salary space for the future by trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. Look again. With one quarter of the season gone, the Hawks rank as one of the NBA's biggest surprises. Atlanta has won 11 of 13 games to move into a first-place tie with defending NBA champion Miami in the Southeast Division. Al Horford says he isn't about to rebuke those who predicted the team would wilt without Johnson, a six-time All-Star. The Hawks' center says even Atlanta players had concerns a streak of five straight playoff seasons would be in jeopardy. Coach Larry Drew's undersized Hawks are winning with defense and improved passing.
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