--Just because the Hawks had weeks to analyze their early season schedule hasn't made it any easier to swallow now that they are in the
midst of it.
Six of their first 10 games, including Tuesday's game against
Indiana here at Conseco Fieldhouse, have been road games. And seven of
their next 12 will be on the road as well.
Fold in the fact that they'll have played back-to-back set eight
times by December 13, including Wednesday night's game against
Washington at Philips Arena, and it's easy to see why Hawks coach Mike
Woodson is preaching to his team regularly about the importance of
getting the most out of whatever practice time they have available.
"That's the tough part is not being able to practice because guys
tend to forget," Woodson said. "You always have practice to find your
comfort zone and we just haven't been able to do that. But it's not
anything we're crying about. The schedule is no surprise. We just have
to manage it and take care of our business."
--Forget the Pacers' 4-5 record heading into Tuesday's game.
Woodson said he identified the Pacers and New Jersey Nets as teams
that are vastly improved from last season.
While neither team was predicted to be among the playoff
contenders in the Eastern Conference in the preseason, both are in the
thick of the chase right now.
The Nets already own two wins over the Hawks, on last weekend's
back-to-back tango. The Pacers were the first team to defeat the
defending world champion Boston.
"They've both added and subtracted players," Woodson said. "But I
think they are better teams right now than they were this time last
year because they're playing really good team basketball. That's
always the key."
--If Woodson thought his team's defense was putrid in the losses
to the Nets, he must have really been disgusted with the way they
played in the first half Tuesday night.
The Pacers shot 58 percent (26-for-45) from the floor, 75 percent
(6-for-8) from beyond the three-point line and saw the Pacers outscore
them 32-6 in the paint, all staggering numbers by any measure.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This guy can score, man. And he's unlike anybody
we've had off the bench. Salim (Stoudamire) could score the ball. But
Flip can finish at the rim. He's a little bit bigger than Salim, but
he's fearless in that lane and he knows how to finish." -- Marvin
Williams, on the scoring machine that Flip Murray has been this season.