Coach Mike Woodson loves the look in his team's eyes these days.That's why he's not worried about them letting up with Cleveland up next Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
"The bottom line is this, our team is playing for something," Woodson said. "And this is the time of year when you have to step up and play. And to their credit, our guys are doing that and have been all season long."
The Hawks wrapped up a seven-game home stand with a 7-0 mark, matching their season high for consecutive wins at home.
With 13 games remaining, the Hawks are 41-28 and in the midst of what is their best regular season in more than a decade.
They set a goal earlier this season of winning 50 games and securing one of the top four spots in the Eastern Conference standings, guaranteeing home court in the first round of the playoffs. Everything is still in play.
"That's without a doubt the reason you see us out there playing with smiles on our faces and playing so hard," Josh Smith said. "My first three years (in the league) we didn't have anything but pride to play for. We were so far out of the playoff race that there wasn't much to talk about.
"But last year we broke through late and made the playoffs and we just haven't stopped grinding. Where we go the rest of this season is really up to us. And that's the way you want it to be."
HAWKS 95, MAVERICKS 87: If the Hawks' mission was to win all seven games on their home stand to secure their playoff position, consider that mission accomplished.
They had to sweat out Thursday's home stand finale against Dallas before a raucous crowd of 17,499.
The Hawks' seven straight home wins bested the six in a row they won during an eight-game December home stand, a run that would have been seven if not for a close home loss to Boston on Dec. 17.
Just as they did throughout this March home stand, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford bailed the Hawks out, with a huge assist off the bench from Flip Murray.
Johnson finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Smith added 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Horford had 13 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three assists.
The Hawks improved to 41-28 with the win and moved four games ahead of Miami for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
They can thank stingy defense and excellent rebounding for their success during the home stand. They held all seven opponents under 100 points and finished with a robust 13-point average margin of victory.