The Hawks might actually enjoy themselves right now if they could.After all, it's not every day that you knock off the league's two hottest teams in back-to-back games.
A dogfight for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race has a way of cooling a team off, though. And the Hawks are locked in it right now with Miami, still just a game-and-a-half ahead of the Heat for the final home-court slot in the first round.
"The Heat is hot and winning, too," Hawks center Al Horford said. "But we've got to worry about ourselves. We're looking and paying attention to the road ahead, but we're also keeping an eye on them and what they're doing."
The Hawks (37-28) do have the added advantage of their current seven-game homestand to work with, on which they are 3-0 to date.
"This is the type intensity we need going into the playoffs," Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson said after Atlanta snapped Utah's 12-game win streak Wednesday. "We've been good at home, but knowing what's at stake, we've played with even more intensity these past two games. It's about having the will and figuring out a way every night to pull out a victory. That's our mission right now."
All Horford is certain is that what's working right now needs to be the mode of operation for the Hawks going forward.
"All I know is we're taking care of home," he said. "We're down the stretch and we've got to win games like this (Jazz game). I just like the way our team is playing right now. We've got to keep it up."
HAWKS 100, JAZZ 93: Another streak, another streak busted by the Hawks.
Utah's 12-game win-streak was one the line when the Jazz showed up to Philips Arena Wednesday night. And the Hawks snapped it with one of their gutsiest performances of the season, grinding out a victory over the NBA's hottest team.
The Hawks also snapped the Hornets' seven-game win-streak Monday. And they ended Cleveland's 11-game win streak in mid-December, another game won on their home floor. They join Detroit as the only teams in the league to snap three streaks of seven games or longer this season.
"This is a huge win for us and one that we know is only a part of what we have to get done the rest of the way," Josh Smith said. "We've still got plenty of work to do."
Philips Arena has been a comfy refuge this season for the Hawks, who are 23-7 at home and 37-28 overall, having won three straight games overall and four straight at home. Joe Johnson turned in his second consecutive 30-point game for the Hawks, finishing his night with 31 on 10-for-20 shooting from the floor to go along with nine assists.
Josh Smith and Al Horford turned in matching double doubles for the second straight time. Smith was mercurial with 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. He also sank the game-clinching free throws with 24.3 seconds to play. Horford finished his night with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, including a huge swat of a Paul Millsap layup attempt in the final seconds, as well as two steals and two assists.
It was a heroic finish for the Hawks, who built and squandered an early 16-point lead and had to rally in the final minutes to preserve the win.