That lethargic look is back.That vacant look is back.
Those Hawks from a year ago are back, too.
Not the Hawks that played Boston off their feet in the playoffs.
The Hawks that barely found a way into the playoffs, the disjointed crew that shows up when it feels like it and plays the same way.
And it's just in time to scare the mess out of their fans, who had just started believing that times had changed for their team. But with their third straight road loss Wednesday and a game in Miami Friday, the Hawks are facing the possibility of their second four-game losing streak of this season; a stunning prospect for a team that raced out of the gates on a 6-0 streak.
"We've got to stop this slide now and get back to playing the way we know how," Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson said. "Right now, we don't even look like we want to be out there. Our energy is gone. And it's driving me crazy."
After starting the season on a 6-0 streak, the Hawks have landed firmly back on the ground with a 6-9 mark since then.
One of the league's elite defensive teams in the first two weeks of the season, the Hawks have suddenly become a punching bag for opponents.
In the first six games of the season the Hawks allowed opposing teams just 89.5 points per game. In the 14 games prior to Wednesday night, that average ballooned to 98.9 points, the only noticeable difference during that stretch being the absence of the team's leading shot-blocker, Josh Smith (high ankle sprain), for a 12-game stint on the inactive list.
During that same 14-game span the opposing team's shooting percentages in every category rose as well.
With a quarter of this NBA season already completed, the Hawks remain above sea level in the standings, but just barely. By the time the Hawks make it home from Friday's game in Miami they'll have completed an early-season sprint that saw them play 14 of their first 22 games on the road, a rough start by any standard.
An eight-game homestand that begins Saturday night against Cleveland looms as a chance to retool a bit and get back to some sort of safe ground. The Hawks are an impressive 7-1 at Philips Arena this season.
"That's the key is finding a way to get this thing back on track and then going home and getting it back right," said Acie Law IV.
SPURS 95, HAWKS 89: The Hawks' 0-for-Texas streak will live for another year.
Their last chance to end the streak this season came undone in the final 35 seconds in a 95-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night at AT&T Center.
Joe Johnson's lay-up put the Hawks within a basket, 87-85, with 61 seconds to play. But Manu Ginobili's spinning lay-up with 32.2 seconds left proved to the difference for the Spurs.
The Hawks' streak of futility in Texas dates back to March of 2004 in Dallas, a 15-game stretch that has seen the Hawks fall to the Spurs, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in every conceivable fashion every time they've faced one of those teams on the road.
The Hawks had to work overtime in the first half just to try and recover from an early 14-point deficit, once again expending loads of energy just to get back into the game. The Hawks were down just three, 79-76, with 3:27 to play when their comeback attempt went haywire.
Back-to-back technical fouls on Mike Bibby and Al Horford helped the Spurs pad their lead with free throws and Tim Duncan's lay-up on the ensuing possession gave the Spurs an 83-78 lead with just over two minutes to play that all but sealed the game.