Winning even when you lose.Only in the NBA.
The Hawks clinched a playoff berth Wednesday night by playing their worst home game in more than a month.
But for a team still floating on the euphoric cloud of its first winning season in a decade, clinching is just another jolt of good news that can't be taken lightly.
"It feels good to prove people wrong as a team and as an organization," forward Josh Smith said. "You get tired of being told you're not good enough or you can't do something. And that's all anybody had to say about us for a long time. So to be in this position now, with a chance to not only make the playoffs but also a chance to snag home court advantage and put up the best season this city has seen in years, it means a lot.
"It shows you just how much we've grown as a group. Myself and Joe (Johnson) and Marvin (Williams) and some of the other guys that have been around the last three or four years, we've gone from the bottom to where we are now and it's a good feeling."
Good enough to keep the Hawks hungry for more, according to Johnson, who played on a Phoenix team that led the league in wins during his final season with the franchise.
"Once you get a taste of winning, it drives you even harder to get to that next level," Johnson said. "A winning season is great. There's no denying that. But the real test is seeing how much better we can get. We've still got a lot left to do this season, and I'm talking before we even start thinking about the playoffs."
In the meantime, the Hawks will have to revel in the cosmic wave of their second straight playoff berth.
"Me knowing the dynamics of where we've been and where we're going, it's really just unbelievable," coach Mike Woodson said. "It takes a lot of work to get to this point. And this team, and these guys, they've made major strides in a short period of time when some people didn't think it was quick enough.
"But you've got to give our players a lot of credit, because they stuck it out through it all. And that's always going to be the key, if they buy in to the program."
SPURS 102, HAWKS 92: Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs don't do celebrations.
Not unless it's the Spurs riding down the Riverwalk toting another Larry O'Brien trophy.
Parker's 42 points served as the catalyst for the Spurs' 102-92 win over the Hawks at Philips Arena, ending the Hawks' home winning-streak at eight games, a streak that began nearly three weeks ago with a March 7 win over Detroit.
Parker and the Spurs, playing without All-Star power forward Tim Duncan, were as formidable as any team the Hawks have seen this month. And that includes a Cleveland team that took them apart Saturday in Cleveland.
No one in a Hawks uniform could keep up with Parker, who was blowing past defenders for lay-ups in the final seconds. He was 18-for-25 from the floor and also had 10 assists and made a mockery of the Hawks' switching defense the entire night.
"We tried doubling him some but he kept beating the double teams," said Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "He had a great game tonight, and you can't take anything away from Parker and the Spurs. We didn't gap him enough in terms of forcing him to shoot jump shots and let him go to the hole, and that's when he's at his best.
"We've just got to get better individually on the ball. And we had some slippage in that area."