If the Hawks' intention is to prove critics that they belong and that they've grown from where they might have been a year ago, then consider the mission accomplished. The Hawks have already collected six road wins this season, nearly half their season total from a year ago. And they're doing it against quality competition, having already won this season in Portland and Dallas.
"Like it or not," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said, "you get judged in this league on wins and losses. That's just the way it is, always has been, always will be."
The Hawks are fine with that now that they've learned how to win away from Philips Arena. They won 31 home games last year and have designs on that many and more this season.
"We're a team that knows how to keep our focus now on the road," Josh Smith said. "I can honestly say that probably wasn't the case the past few years. But we're a different team with a difference attitude this year, and I think everybody will continue to see the growth in us as the season goes on."
Talking about it is one thing.
"We have to play the way we preach around here," Marvin Williams said. "In fact, we have to keep this thing going on for a few years."
HAWKS 80, MAVERICKS 75: Five times the Hawks showed up in Dallas looking for a win. And all five times they left Dallas still looking.
The sixth time just happened to be the charm for the Hawks, who upended the Mavericks on Saturday behind the inspiring effort from Joe Johnson.
Johnson scored 31 points to lead the Hawks, who held the Mavericks to a second consecutive season scoring low.
"It was one of those games where we had to do whatever it took to get it done," Johnson said. "The way we lost to the Knicks (at home Friday), we needed to turn the page from that."
The Hawks led by a point early in the fourth quarter, but they needed an 8-0 scoring run to break the game open. The Mavericks got as close as 78-75 late, but the Hawks held on down the stretch.
"Huge win for us," Jamal Crawford said. "We stuck together down the stretch and trusted each other when it mattered most."
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