ATLANTA Hawks coach Larry Drew said he has witnessed the panic disappear from his players eyes.
In the past, if the Hawks began to lose a big lead, he could hear the negative talk in the huddle during a timeout. He could sense the nervous energy, as if waiting for something bad to happen.
Even though they have been a playoff team for five seasons running, the Hawks tended to come up with some incomprehensible performances on occasion.
One of the most notorious was on Jan. 21, 2011, when the Hawks lost at home 100-59 to New Orleans, a team that finished only two games better than Atlanta. In that game, the Hawks registered the franchises lowest point total since relocating to Atlanta in 1968.
Last season, those losses might have ranked fewer in number, but there were still some head-scratchers. On Feb. 18, they lost by 20 points at Portland to a team that finished 10 games below .500 and on April 15 they lost at home 102-86 to a Toronto team that finished 20 games below .500 in...