Posted March 18, 2013 on
AP on Fox
The Atlanta Hawks seem to be comfortably headed to the playoffs for a sixth straight season, but that doesn't mean their content with their current position.
The Hawks may find themselves tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference if they can extend their winning streak in a matchup against the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
Atlanta (37-29) is fifth in the conference, 11 1/2 games ahead of the ninth-place tie between Toronto and Philadelphia with 16 games remaining.
The Hawks have a chance to climb the standings further since they're one game back of fourth-place Brooklyn, which trails Atlantic Division-leading New York by the same margin.
The Nets open an eight-game road trip at Detroit on Monday, while the Knicks are in Utah.
Atlanta pulled closer to the Nets on Sunday with a 105-93 victory in Brooklyn, its third in a row after a 1-6 stretch.
The winning streak has rejuvenated the Hawks' confidence.
"Huge, huge win," Al Horford said. "Now we're a game behind Brooklyn, so it was a big win for us. We're trying to be in the best possible position for the playoffs. Just a week ago, we were in the seventh spot, almost in eighth and now I feel like we're starting to play like a better team. We're close to the fourth spot. Realistically we'd like to go up to the third spot."
Horford is looking to build on his 22 points from Sunday after averaging 14.3 over the four prior games. He had 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while adding 10 boards, three steals and two blocks in a 105-101 win at Dallas (31-35) on Feb. 11.
Josh Smith had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in that meeting. The forward was also impressive in the most recent matchup at home April 26, tallying 23 points, nine boards and seven assists in a 106-89 victory.
He enters this one coming off a stellar performance against the Nets, accumulating 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
While Horford and Smith are big reasons Atlanta is headed back to the playoffs, the Mavericks have ground to make up in the West as they try to qualify for a 13th consecutive year.
It's not looking good, as Dallas is 11th in the conference, four games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final position.
The Mavs didn't do themselves any favors Sunday, losing 107-101 to Oklahoma City.
"We've got to continue playing hard, finding ways to stay positive obviously and go out there to win every game that we play," guard O.J. Mayo told the team's official website.
Mayo may want to heed his own advice since he's averaging 10.2 points over the past five games after scoring nine against the Thunder. He leads Dallas with 16.8 ppg, and had 19 against the Hawks last month.
Dirk Nowitzki averages 26.2 points in 13 games in Atlanta, and he had 24 in the latest overall matchup. The forward had a team-high 23 points Sunday, shooting 8 of 10 from the floor and 3 of 4 from behind the arc.
Shawn Marion missed his sixth straight game with a strained left calf Sunday and it's unclear when he'll return. That leaves the Mavs without their best defensive player, who also averages 16.0 points and 8.1 rebounds in 14 career visits to Atlanta.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
GET WELL SOON
This Atlanta cheerleader fell hard in between the third and fourth quarters of the Hawks vs Mavericks game.
An Atlanta Hawks cheerleader was taken off the court in a stretcher Monday after slipping and falling during a dance routine.
The cheerleader was hurt between the third and fourth quarter of the Hawks-Dallas Mavericks game at Phillips Arena.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the cheerleader was taken by paramedics to a hospital to undergo tests and that she never lost consciousness...
Prior to the start of the fourth quarter of the Hawks-Mavs game, one of the Atlanta cheerleaders took a rather scary looking fall during a dance routine and had to be carted off the court after being immobilized. It looks as if she either slipped on the court’s slick floor or her foot just came out from under her, leading the poor girl to hit her head as she landed.
Word is that...
ATLANTA Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew said there were a lot of reasons why he was happy to have Dahntay Jones on his team.
When he was held out of a game or others times when he has played sparingly six times since arriving from Dallas for Anthony Morrow on Feb. 21, the day the NBA trading deadline elapsed, Jones has played between two and seven minutes he has not pouted, even...
Poor girl, I hope she is ok.
Looks like she just hit a wet spot on the floor and lost her balance. She hit her head pretty hard on the floor. Hopefully, they just carted her off as a precaution.
If we get any more details we will let you know.
The Hawks (37-29) have won three straight games and snapped a five-game road losing streak after their victory against Brooklyn. “Coming into this game we were concerned with the matchups,” coach Larry Drew said according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The first three games we went big on them. This time we decided to go with our [...]
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Al Horford had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks dominated the fourth quarter to beat Brooklyn 105-93 on Sunday night, keeping the Nets from tying for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Josh Smith added 21 points and seven boards for the Hawks, who won their third straight by outscoring the Nets 34-20 in the final period. Neither team led by more than six points...
Maybe she should have given her sneakers the old Larry Bird spit treatment before heading onto the court for this one.
An Atlanta Hawks cheerleader was released from Atlanta Medical Center on Monday night after taking a spill during an in-game routine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. While cheerleaders are known for high-flying stunts and pretty involved gymnastics repertoires...
Wow, when we received 'Atlanta Hawks cheerleader slips and falls, taken off court on stretcher' -- we expected a flip or something to be involved. Nope, foot simply slid out from in front of Kristen...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
ATLANTA (AP) -- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called it a "defensive pillow fight."
If so, Atlanta coach Larry Drew felt like his team didn't bring enough pillows.
Darren Collison scored 24 points and the hot-shooting Mavericks set season highs for points in a half and a game in a 127-113 victory over the Hawks on Monday night.
Carlisle said the Mavericks would "...
Tracy McGrady, who played on the last national basketball association team to win 22 straight games, says the streak his 2008 Houston Rockets went on was more impressive than the Miami Heat's current 22-game win streak., http://juicedsportsblog.com/sports-news/news/mcgrady-rockets-22game-run-a-lot-harder
Ready for the Top 10 NBA Plays from Sunday, March 17th. Check out the luck of the Irish at work for Hawks Al Horford and Raptors Rudy Gay. A Dwade highlight, plus some looks at an amazing pass from Warriors Steph Curry and Lakers highlights. The Lakers won without Kobe again on Sunday. Plus, what’s a highlight reel without an appearance from Lob City.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Al Horford had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks dominated the fourth quarter to beat Brooklyn 105-93 on Sunday night, keeping the Nets from tying for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Josh Smith added 21 points and seven boards for the Hawks, who won their third straight by outscoring the Nets 34-20 in the final period. Neither team led by more...