Going into Wednesday night's game, the Hawks were 2 1/2 games behind Southeast Division-leading Orlando. Though the NBA season is only at the quarter-mark, the Hawks are well aware of their positioning relative to the defending division champs.
"Of course," center Al Horford said. "You have to keep up [with the competition]. I keep up with all the teams, even the bottom teams. It's one of those things that you want to keep that edge and you want to get to Orlando, maybe try to get ahead of them. It's important being at the top, no matter how early it is."
Last year, Orlando won the Southeast with a 59-23 record, 12 games better than the second-place Hawks .
"I think we need to start trying to get a win streak going," coach Mike Woodson said.
Forward Josh Smith on playing on ESPN, as the Hawks did on Wednesday: "It's just another game, but it does give us an opportunity to get some publicity for the team and it shows the growth of our team. But I'd rather take a win over all of it, over any accolades, national games, anything. I'd rather be in the playoffs and be the high seed."
Forward Marvin Williams wore a sleeve with padding on his right elbow. Williams doesn't know how he hurt it, but said it has been sore to the touch. He said the sleeve didn't impede his play.
Assistant coach Larry Drew was expected to return to the team Thursday. His father James died Saturday and services were held Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo.
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