There was a point when many considered the Atlanta Hawks contenders in the Eastern Conference. But after years of underachievement, perennial team leaders Josh Smith and Joe Johnson moved on, and now the franchise is trying to rebuild around guard Jeff Teague and potential all-star center Al Horford. It’s funny what teams will do when faced with a juggernaut such as the Miami Heat, like blow up a roster that had a decent level of success for many years. It’s been obvious for a while that the Hawks needed to move on, and their recent actions have shown just that. But unlike in years past, the Hawks went from being able to steal a game here and there to being flat-out hopeless. That’s a good sign for the Heat, which after its 2-2 start needs to feed its record. A plethora of Eastern Conference bottom feeders like the Hawks will do just the trick and carry the Heat into a home-court advantage in the finals.
Tue., Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2013