Joe Johnson's sole focus isn't on the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat or any other one team on the Hawks' schedule.That focus is reserved for another team that Johnson wants to keep an eye on: his own.
The Hawks' captain is locked in on his own crew, trying to make sure that it finds ways to sustain the positive momentum created by the Hawks' best start in a decade.
So when he talks passionately about making sure his team is on the "same page" and playing as a unit, it has everything to do with making sure to tend to his own business as opposed to worrying about the opposition.
And after back-to-back losses on their four-game trip through Texas and Miami, resulting mostly from the Hawks' inability to finish games, his concerns are understandable.
"You've to play whoever is up next, and you know our coaches will make sure we're prepared for whoever that is," Johnson said, knowing his team has one last chance to snap a 14-game losing streak in Texas on Wednesday at San Antonio. "But right now, it's more about us and what we're doing. We haven't played our best lately, and that includes (Friday's win over) the Knicks, too. We're not playing the way we did earlier this year, when we had everybody on the same vibe. We have to get back to that."
This week's trip, which is sandwiched with a home game against Cleveland Saturday, isn't necessarily the best time for a team to try to find itself. But until the Hawks put together a complete-game performance like the ones they turned in early last month, the questions still need answers.
Are they the team that posted impressive road wins at Orlando, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Chicago and Washington or the team that turned in uneven performances in losses at Indiana, Cleveland, Toronto and now Dallas?
"The way I see it, you're only as good as your last (game)," forward Josh Smith said. "The same goes for any team. And for all but about eight minutes of the third and fourth quarters, we were pretty good. We just had that lull where things went sideways and we had to scramble to get back in the game.
"But I think we proved we're capable of going on the road and winning against good teams. We just have to get that swagger back."
ROCKETS 92, HAWKS 84: The Hawks started the game like zombies, trailing 13-0 just minutes in and by 16 before the end of the first half.
But they woke up in plenty of time to make things interesting, taking control of things in the third quarter before succumbing to the Rockets late.
The Hawks' winless streak in Texas dates to March 17, 2004 in Dallas, a futile stretch of 14 games, including Saturday's 100-98 nail-biter in Dallas.
They'll get one last chance to snap the streak Wednesday at San Antonio against the Spurs.