2-2 Road Trip with an Asterisk
We’ve said it before this season: “A good win always trumps a bad loss.” It was even the title for one of Hometeam’s posts back in early December after the Hawks responded to a loss to the Knicks by beating the Mavericks on the road.
Going into the road trip a 2-2 record would have been viewed as satisfactory. After Sunday’s loss the doubters began to climb out of the woodwork, but the beauty of an 82-game season is that chances of redemption come quick. At least that is beautiful if you are a good, mature, contender. Young teams let Sunday’s fourth quarter collapse linger into the game on Monday. The Hawks jumped on the Jazz from the start, taking a 14-4 lead and letting Utah know they were not going down without a fight.
“No question, you know, after last night, I think we could have folded it in,” said Al Horford. “It’s a really tough place to play in, tough environment, and to be able to come out here and really put a game together like this, it speaks a lot about our team.”
Monday’s win gives Atlanta 17 wins over Western Conference opponents, second among teams in the East (Cleveland has 19). After home games against Minnesota and Dallas this week the Hawks only have three games remaining against the West, including a rematch against the Warriors at the Highlight Factory on March 5. In comparison the Magic still have to play 11 games against Western Conference opponents and the Celtics have eight.
A good win always trumps a bad loss. Many will want to focus on Sunday as a missed opportunity, but over the course of 82 games teams will lay an occasional egg. This was a case of one bad quarter rather than one bad game. The team’s response to adversity is much more encouraging than the loss was devastating. Plus, playing well in a “playoff atmosphere”, as Woody described Utah on Monday, is what counts come mid-April.