Time for me to be macro again. The Hawks won 47 games last season. Beat Philly tonight and they’ll have 47 victories with 10 to go. Any way you look at it at right now, barring a complete and total collapse down the stretch that’s progress.
“Right now” is the hedge, of course, because it means more if the regular season leads to something better and not as much if it ends up going nowhere. But it’s something for now, and Woody deserves a moment to say he’s glad to see it.
“I am very, very proud,” he said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with a basketball team, considering where we started and I knew we would struggle because we were 18 and 19-year old kids trying to play a man’s game. And we grew. Ownership was patient, they let me and my staff continue to teach a system I believe in and now we see the benefits.”
Woody said matching last season’s victory total isn’t enough. Winning the division would be something to talk about. That’s likely not going to happen so the Hawks will have to put up 50 wins and take the next step in the postseason.
“Our goal was to win 50-plus games and win the division,” Woody said. “We are not outside of the realm of winning the division. Like I’ve been saying, Orlando is playing great we are probably going to have to win out and they are going to have to fall on their face for that to happen. But the goal is to still try to win our division, and in doing that win 50-plus games.”
A reporter actually asked Woody how would he prevent the Hawks from becoming complacent. Shoot, I can’t see how that would be a problem for the Hawks.
For one, the goal should be winning a championship and they haven’t come close to that. They also haven’t shown they are on the same level as the Cavs, Magic and Celtics.
“We haven’t done anything,” Woody said. “Last year we made a positive step based on two years ago when took Celtics to seven. Then we were able to host homecourt last season and win a first-round series. The next step to me is winning the division and getting to the Eastern Conference finals.
“So we haven’t done anything. Orlando, they have done something. Cleveland, they have the best record in the league the last two years. We still have a ways to go, man. We are still trying to learn to win at a high level, and as a coach I’ve got to continue to try to push them.”
– Woody’s message to the team at the shootaround was about finishing games strong. As noted in another nice piece by Ken S. the Hawks are having issues with that. They are “sloppy in that area,” Woody said, and “get so comfortable” with leads late. The Sixers, who are missing South Gwinnett High’s Lou Williams (back), should offer the Hawks a chance to see if they can keep a foe down once they get them there.