--The NBA's schedule makers loves to throw a wrinkle or two at teams during the season, and Friday's and Saturday night's Hawks-New Jersey Nets series certainly qualifies. The teams played at Izod Center in New Jersey Friday night and will conduct the return affair Saturday at Philips Arena.A road-and-home back-to-back isn't preferred, but Hawks coach Mike Woodson said it does serve one purpose.
"I think you treat it like playoff games," Woodson said. "You're in a series. I remember back in the day you had mini-series against other teams. They get first crack because you're on their floor so you have to make sure you're ready to play and try and draw first blood.
"But you really set the tone the first night in terms of drawing first blood and how you're going to compete. But you have to let them know you're ready to play and then you've already set the tone for how you're going to play at home."
--It's a good thing the Hawks and Nets didn't play earlier in the day Friday. Hawks center Zaza Pachulia said he wouldn't have been able to go with his left shoulder still aching from the lick he took on it Wednesday in Boston. By Friday night, though, he was feeling good enough to give it a go.
"It feels good enough to play with," said Pachulia, who had a bandage over the shoulder for protection. "That's all I needed."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's definitely entertaining, two teams playing hard. You definitely see the growth in that team. They have some key additions. Mo Evans played hard for them. Flip Murray is a big addition for them. It gives them a lot more depth. Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby have some other scorers that can come in. Like Paul (Pierce) said, we knew this wasn't going to be an easy game. They weren't undefeated for any other reason. The thing that sticks out is that they're a lot more defensively sound than they were a year ago. It's entertaining but I wouldn't necessarily call it a rivalry." -- Boston superstar F Kevin Garnett, on all the reasons why the Hawks-Celtics mini-drama is not a rivalry.