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News » Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-11-27

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-11-27

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-11-27The Hawks got the test they were looking for in their meeting with the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic on Thanksgiving night.

And they failed miserably, losing by 17 points on their home floor in front a national-television audience.

But another day brings another test, and in Philadelphia on Friday night the Hawks have an opportunity for a retest or at least a little extra credit.

Win or lose, though, the questions about this Hawks team remain. Are they for real or not? Are they the team that won seven straight games and has hung out at the cool kids' table the first month of the season or are they impostors trying to squeeze into the in crowd without being noticed?

"We're trying to be one of the best teams in the East," said Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson. "But it's like, 'Are you a contender or a pretender?'"

For at least the next few hours, they're somewhere in the middle. They are no longer in possession of the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, having ceded that honor to the 12-4 Magic after Friday's loss.

They're still 11-4 and are among the league's best in terms of wins and losses, but they're also losers of two straight games.

"Just like those seven straight wins didn't define us and who or what we are," Josh Smith said, "these two losses won't, either. What we have to get back to right now is just rotating the ball on offense and sharing the load, locking down on defense and gang rebounding. We have to rebound as a team. We do those things and I think we'll be fine."

MAGIC 93, HAWKS 76: This one hurt for so many reasons.

First home loss of the season. A loss to a division rival. And on Thanksgiving night, in a showcase game in front of not only all your family and friends but a TNT audience, something rarely see around these parts during non-playoff times.

The Hawks led big early but fell asleep at the wheel in the second half en route to being trounced on their home floor by Orlando Thursday night.

After piling up 51 points by halftime, the Hawks could muster just 25 after the break, a paltry number by any standard but especially for a team that was routinely topping the 100-point mark during a seven-game win streak that ended last weekend in New Orleans.

The Hawks got as close as two points at the start of the fourth quarter but never seriously challenged the Magic from there as they dropped their fourth straight game to the defending Eastern Conference champions.

"It was the second half," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We played totally different than we played in the first half. We shot it, we moved the ball and we defended well in the first half. And then it was like we forgot how we got the lead and played so differently in the second half."

Magic superstar center Dwight Howard probably had a lot to do with that. He took over the lane in the second half.

"It's definitely disappointing," Josh Smith said. "When you play as well as we did for the first half and then you lay an egg in the second half, it's really disappointing."

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Added: November 27, 2009


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