The last time Marvin Williams slept in his own bed for a solid week was before Christmas. He can thank the Hawks' road-heavy schedule since then for the lack of familiarity at home.Friday's game in Charlotte was the Hawks' last road game until a March 21 game in Cleveland, meaning they'll spend at least seven straight days at home for the first time this calendar year.
"You feel it, you definitely feel it," Williams said of the wear and tear caused by being on the road so much. "But to see it on paper makes it even worse."
The Hawks kick off a seven-game homestand Saturday against Detroit at Philips Arena. But even that comes with strings. Five of the teams they'll face during this homestand (the Pistons, New Orleans, Utah, Portland and Dallas) are locked into the playoff chase in their respective conferences. The other two (Indiana and Sacramento) have already scored wins over the Hawks this season.
"The bottom line is this: there's not a gimme game in the bunch on the rest of our schedule," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "So for us to think that way about anybody is foolish. We have to lock down and treat every game like what it is, the game of our lives."
Still, the chance to compete at home, where the Hawks are 20-7 this season, does offer some solace.
"The good thing is we're home this time," Williams said. "A lot of those teams we're facing saw us on their home floor. And we're looking forward to returning that favor."
BOBCATS 98, HAWKS 91: What began as a promising week in Washington got ugly in New York Wednesday night and downright nasty in Charlotte Friday night.
The Hawks lost their second straight game to a sub-.500 opponent, dropping a 98-91 decision to the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. They also lost more ground in the race for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. And Hawks coach Mike Woodson benched starting power forward Josh Smith after halftime, the result of a heated disagreement between the two men in the locker room during the break.
Smith had 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks before leaving the game for good after playing just 21 minutes. The Hawks (34-28) can't afford any more drama, not with their season teetering on the brink and their chances of hosting a first round playoff series in jeopardy.
They kick off a seven-game homestand against Detroit Saturday night at Philips Arena. But they'll do so knowing that they are no longer working to pad their cushion over Miami, the Pistons and Philadelphia for the fourth spot, but to simply hang onto it. After Friday's games, Atlanta's lead over Miami for that fourth spot is just one-half game.
If they can't muster any more energy or any better effort than they did against the Bobcats Friday night, they won't have to worry about the fourth spot at all for much longer. The Bobcats controlled the action from the start, working inside out in the first quarter to build a 15-point lead. Former Hawks swingman Boris Diaw served as the facilitator for the Bobcats, who run their offense through their starting power forward. Diaw finished with a game-high 13 assists to go along with his 13 points and five rebounds. The Bobcats (27-35) led by as many as 18 before withstanding a late Hawks' rally to preserve the win and avoid being swept in a season series by the Hawks for the first time.