Atlanta Hawks

NBA Power Rankings: Hawks headed back in right direction

The Atlanta Hawks were able to stop the bleeding last week with a big win over the Miami Heat and a come from behind effort against the Milwaukee Bucks. Atlanta is now 12-12 on the season and riding a two-game winning streak after a 1-10 stretch. As a result, they are inching their way back up in this week’s Power Rankings.

Marc Stein gets things started moving the Hawks up four spots to No. 16 this week at ESPN.com.

Not exactly sure how, but the Hawks were still ranked No. 2 leaguewide in defensive efficiency last week in the throes of their 1-9 freefall that dropped them all the way down to No. 20 on our ladder. On this Rankings Monday, you’ll still find them at No. 3 somehow in the DE standings. Given the recent struggles, though, Atlanta’s comeback from 20 points down at the half to win in Milwaukee — this season’s first such comeback from any team on the NBA map — has to provide Mike Budenholzer some encouragement, since it suggests his guys are still scrapping. The comeback had a historic element, too, since the Hawks had never before recovered from a halftime deficit that big. They were 0-149 in that situation, believe it or not, in the franchise’s 68-season history. #youcanlookitup

Atlanta also lands at No. 16 this week in John Schuhmann’s rankings for NBA.com.

After scoring less than a point per possession in 11 straight games, the Hawks broke out for 108 per 100 in wins over the Heat and Bucks last week (recording a season-high 32 assists on Friday). Dwight Howard had a big game (23 and 17) against Hassan Whiteside, Dennis Schroder (33 points) had a big game against Milwaukee, and Paul Millsap has been really good since returning from a three-game absence. Kent Bazemore’s absence in the last two games has meant that Kyle Korver is still a de facto starter coming off the bench.

Matt Moore bumps the Hawks up three spots to No. 16 for CBS Sports.

The Hawks stopped the bleeding with two wins over Miami and Milwaukee, but everyone’s still watching them carefully at the dinner table in case they start looking pale again.

The Hawks move up to No. 17 in Kurt Helin’s rankings at ProBasketballTalk and he points to a big week ahead.

Their seven-game losing streak came to an end with wins against Miami and Milwaukee, thanks to big games from Dwight Howard against the Heat and Dennis Schroder against the Bucks. They did that without Kent Bazemore, but that will be tough this week going against Orlando, Toronto, and Charlotte. That will test if the Hawks are really right again.

Finally, Atlanta lands at No 17 in Jeremy Woo’s rankings for The Crossover.

Two wins this week is a start, but I wonder at what point it behooves them to shop Paul Millsap, who has another year on his contract and turns 32 in February. I can think of a half-dozen playoff-type teams that would benefit.

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