The Hawks have taken the league by storm this season and they can thank the Spurs for giving them the blueprint for success, writes Paul Newberry of the Associated Press. Atlanta, like San Antonio, created a team-first atmosphere in which ball movement is one of the major focuses. Point guard Jeff Teague has bought into the team’s philosophy. “I’m enjoying every minute of it,” said Teague. “We’re so unselfish. We don’t care about glory or accolades. It’s just a joy to play on a team like that.” The Hawks have won 35 out of their last 38 games and own a record of 42-9, which is the best in the entire league.
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Heat are struggling on offense this season but the team continues to pass on adding proven scorers, like Jordan Crawford, to the roster, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Crawford, who averaged 12.2 points per game during his time in the NBA, would give the team a much needed scoring option off the bench, but concerns about the 26-year-old’s maturity have turned Miami away. The Heat are scoring 92.4 point per game this season, which is second worst in the league.
- Although the Heat have lost five out of their last six games and own a record of 21-29, which is good for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, the team remains committed to making the postseason, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “Everybody can see the potential of our young group, and they’re getting great opportunities to play, for something, for the playoffs, with our veteran core,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. If Miami finds itself outside the playoff picture, the team has motivation to lose more games because its first-round draft pick will go to the Sixers if it doesn’t fall within the top 10. The Heat have the 12th worst record in the league, as our reverse order standings show, making it unlikely that they keep their pick if they remain in this position at the end of the season.
- The Hornets continue to push for a playoff berth and veteran Jason Maxiell has been key to the team’s success during Kemba Walker‘s absence, writes Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer. Maxiell signed with Charlotte for the veteran’s minimum about a month before the start of the season and the 32-year-old has served as a mentor for the 10th youngest team in the league. The Hornets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 22-27.