Never accused of being an optimist, Hawks coach Mike Woodson might actually be a bit guilty of being just that.Much like the USA's new Commander-in-Chief, Woodson has vowed his team will recover from its shaky 1-4 showing on their latest Western Conference road trip.
The Hawks (32-25) might try playing the way they did before the All-Star break, when they won four of five games, including three straight on the road. Then, they won back-to-back road games in Minnesota and Charlotte without captain and All-Star Joe Johnson, and then a week later followed that up with their first win in Detroit in seven tries just two days before the break.
"I'm looking at our road games of late and then these five on this trip and none of it was guaranteed," Woodson said. "Not the way we've been playing. We had three road games before this trip and not a one of them was guaranteed. So going back through our last seven road games we're 4-3, which is better than .500.
"If we can finish up strong, we'll have gone 7-4 this month. And that's a tough month with all the road game we played."
Well, the Hawks lost in Denver Wednesday night, eliminating any chance of finishing the month 7-4. But they did play with a fervor that's been missing the past three weeks. And they'll get a chance to do it again Friday night when Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat will be in town for just the second home game of this month the fatigued Hawks.
NUGGETS 110, HAWKS 109: Six seconds is all that stood between the undermanned Hawks and arguably their most astonishing comeback of the season. But in the end, it wasn't enough time for the Hawks to steal a win away from the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
After rallying from a 92-78 fourth-quarter deficit and closing to within a point in the final seconds, Flip Murray's 10-footer ended up going just nine-and-a-half feet.
"He got the shot he wanted," said a particularly upbeat Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "It just didn't go down."
The Hawks wasted a huge night from Marvin Williams, who scored a season-high 31 points, not to mention Al Horford's 21 points and 11 rebounds. Or Flip Murray's 15 points in replacing Mike Bibby, one of two Hawks' starters (Josh Smith is the other) to miss practice. Bibby had the flu and Smith was attending to a family matter.
Chauncey Billups scored a season-best 33 points for the Nuggets, but also missed an 18-footer with 6.9 seconds left, giving the Hawks a shot at the upset.
The Hawks had trimmed a 110-102 deficit in the final 90 seconds but Murray's shot clanked off the iron and he fell to the court as the Nuggets breathed a huge sigh of relief over their first win in a week.