In the midst of their recent seven-game win streak, the Hawks talked of habits forming -- good habits.
They never talked about the other side of that coin.
In the midst of a stretch in which they have lost three of their last four games, they might want to revisit that conversation.
Because bad habits have formed in the last week, most notably an increasing unwillingness to share the ball and an almost comical lack of effort on the defensive end.
"This is the time of year where you have to check yourself as a team and just make sure that you don't fall into any kind of funk," said Hawks forward Josh Smith. "What, did we all of a sudden forget how to play? I don't think that's the problem. But our effort has to be better all the way around."
The Hawks will have to wait until Wednesday's home game against Toronto to find out if they're just stuck in a mini-rut or if they have bigger issues.
Sporting a 12-5 record this early in the season, however, gives Hawks coach Mike Woodson reason to believe that his team is doing something right.
"I understand we're not going to be perfect," Woodson said. "No matter how much I push from a coaching standpoint, I have to respect the process and how things work."
PISTONS 94, HAWKS 88: With all the healthy bodies the Pistons were missing Sunday, the Hawks must have assumed they could show up and walk out of the Palace of Auburn Hills with a win.
They figured wrong, as they realized the moment they walked off the floor after a loss to the "struggling" Pistons.
They also didn't account for the energy of veteran big man Ben Wallace fueling a relentless Pistons assault on the boards.
The Pistons grabbed 53 rebounds to the Hawks' 27, using that advantage to control the floor and snap their own seven-game losing streak.
With the Pistons' big men controlling the glass, they outscored the Hawks 60-38 in the paint and 30-10 on second-chance points.
"When you get beat 53-27 on the boards, you aren't going to beat many teams in this league," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "We just didn't compete today. They outworked us from a defensive standpoint, and we just couldn't rebound with them. Ben Wallace was the difference today."
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