Hawks point guard Mike Bibby laughed when asked if he had any New Year's resolutions on his mind.But if there were anything he'd like his team to do better this season, it'll be done away from home, something the Hawks couldn't do Friday in New Jersey and will have to wait a week to try and do again, in Orlando next week, to try and get right.
They'll have an immediate opportunity for an elixir with Houston on tap Saturday night at Philips Arena.
But they won't be able to scratch their road itch for at least another week.
"We have to start winning on the road," Bibby said. "We are (7-9) on the road this season, and in order to win this thing, you have to win on the road. So we have to take care of business on the road."
That means showing up for the entire game and not just the first half, as they did against the Nets.
And they better show up with their defense in tow.
The team defense theory is surely the Hawks' best option. When they've been successful on the road this season, they've used their length and athleticism on defense to stymie teams, particularly late in games.
Hawks coach Mike Woodson used three different primary defenders on Indiana swingman Danny Granger in a 110-104 win over the Pacers in Indiana Tuesday night.
"We tried to show him different looks early," Woodson said. "We had Marvin Williams on him to start the game and then Joe guarded him for a large part the rest of the way. And then in the fourth quarter, down the stretch, we switched Josh on to him and were able to limit his opportunities when it mattered most."
Now they have to find ways to outmaneuver, outsmart and outwork opponents the same way they do at Philips Arena on the road.
"When you win five straight games at home, you get into a comfort zone and you get used to the lift you get from your own fans," Johnson said of the Hawks' surge at the finish of their recent eight-game home stand they finished with a 7-1 mark. "We won't have that on the road, so we have to find ways to grind out these games on the road when we know we're the only people in the building that want us to win the game.
"The same way we did it in Indiana and in Miami before that. You have to be able to grind on the road."
Better luck next time.
NETS 93, HAWKS 91 (OT): The third time turned out to be anything but the charm for the Hawks against the New Jersey Nets Friday night.
Vince Carter's deep three-pointer at the overtime buzzer made sure of that, capping the Nets' stunning 93-91 comeback win over the Hawks.
The Hawks hastened their own demise by playing loose with a 20-point halftime lead and got burned by the Nets for the third time this season.
After holding the Nets to just 29 points in the first half, the Hawks had no answer for the Nets' second-half rush, which included Devin Harris taking over the action in the third quarter.
The Hawks also missed eight of their final 12 free throws, fumbling away every chance they had to regain control of the game along the way in what turned out to be their first and most disappointing loss of the New Year.
"They just came out and punched us in the face after halftime and we didn't respond," Hawks forward Marvin Williams said. "Being up that big at the half on the road, especially against a team that's already beaten us twice this year... There's no excuse and no explanation for something like that."
The Hawks (21-11) almost slipped out of Izod Center with a win they only worked half a game to get. Josh Smith converted a lay-up for a 91-90 lead with 11.4 seconds to play after he and Mo Evans combined for a steal and fast break.
Carter didn't squander the Nets' last chance, even after the inbounds pass from Jarvis Hayes sailed over the half-court line, forcing Carter to chase the ball down and then dribble up the floor before swishing his shot over Smith.
"They played a totally different game in the second half, obviously," said Smith, who inexplicably did not chase Carter or the ball on that inbounds play that led to the game-winning shot. "They went from not being able to hit a shot to hitting all sorts of shots, and the biggest shot of the game at the end.
"But they also pounded us on the boards (52-42) and they got some clutch second-chance points when they needed them."