Unfortunately for the Hawks, there don't seem to be any provisions in the NBA rulebook that would allow them to play the worst teams in the league in the playoffs. After repeatedly getting rolled in March by the league's best, the Hawks have made quick work of two teams bringing up the NBA's rear on consecutive nights. Sunday, the dupes were the Cleveland Cavaliers, whom the Hawks beat 99-83 at Quicken Loans Arena. "I don't care who we've played," said Marvin Williams, who led the Hawks with a season-high 31 points. "The way we have been playing as of late, we could have played a high school team in Atlanta. A win is a win." Since losing four of five and eight of their previous 11, the Hawks have assembled a two-game winning streak on the backs of the New Jersey Nets and the Cavaliers, who have a combined record of 37-107. They head into a Wednesday test against the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena. Since the All-Star break, the Hawks are 5-1 against teams below .500 and 3-10 against teams at .500 or better. The Hawks (42-32) did it without guard Joe Johnson, who stayed in Atlanta to receive treatment after spraining his right thumb in the team's win over New Jersey Saturday. The Hawks are now 6-4 with their five-time All-Star out of the lineup. They moved 4 ½ games ahead of Philadelphia for the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference with eight games remaining. "I think we still have a ways (to go to turn things around)," Al Horford said. "At least we're going in the right direction." Coach Larry Drew's lineup with Jason Collins at center gave the Hawks an advantage of size and/or height at each position. Starting in Johnson's shooting guard spot, the 6-foot-9 Williams particularly benefited, continually taking Alonzo Gee and Christian Eyenga to the basket or shooting over them. Drew called a number of plays for him and teammates found him on the weakside, and Williams met the challenge. He scored 31 points, two shy of his career best, on 14 shots and added seven rebounds. He showed burst and aggressiveness, leading to a season-high 11 free throws. When the Cavaliers (14-58) threatened midway through the fourth quarter, Williams dropped two 3-pointers to help hold them off.
Williams leads Hawks over lowly Cavs
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Mar 28