Hawks credit magical season to team-first approach

Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:44pm EDT
 
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By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Atlanta Hawks have blindsided the National Basketball Association this season, surging to the top of the standings with a selfless style as refreshing as their emergence.

No one considered the Hawks (52-14) a title contender before the season's start, but here they are leading the Eastern Conference by a comfortable margin and a half-game from the best mark in basketball ahead of Monday's game in Sacramento.

What has set them apart is how they work together.

"It's a beautiful group, no one really cares who gets the shine," Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague told Reuters prior to his team's win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

"Coach (Mike Budenholzer) has done a great job of getting guys that fit (together). "When you have that on the floor it's hard to beat."

The Hawks have certainly proven that, arriving as a true contender with a 19-game win streak that began in December and included a perfect record in the month of January.

Now the season's surprise package are heading toward their first division, and regular season conference titles since 1994.

The Hawks are not without star power, sending four players to February's All-Star Game in Teague, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Al Horford. But the All-Star selections were as much a nod to the team's success as they were individual honors.   Continued...

 
Mar 6, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Atlanta Hawks bench reacts after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 106-97. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports