Come April Fool’s Day, we’ll know if the Hawks have been fooling us these past four months. Over the 33-day day stretch that began Friday, they’ll play 18 games, 14 of them at home, 10 against teams with winning records. We’re about to learn exactly what the Hawks are, and quite possibly where they’re headed.
The interminable NBA regular season is filled with red herrings. A team can look good for a week or a month and wind up in the lottery. The Hawks aren’t going to drop that far, but for most of calendar year 2009 they’ve been running in place. It’s time now to spin things forward.
“It is a big month,” Josh Smith said, speaking before Friday’s game. “With so many home games and tough teams coming in, we want to create some separation for the fourth spot.”
Conveniently enough, Friday’s opponent was the team the Hawks need to outrun. The Miami Heat had closed on the Hawks and had made a deft trade – plying Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon from Toronto – at the deadline. The