With Miami and Orlando also in the Southeast division, the Atlanta Hawks have been an afterthought so far this season. The undefeated Hawks will shoot for their fourth straight win and stay below the radar tonight on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers from Quicken Loans Arena.
Atlanta, last year's third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, has recorded wins over Memphis, Philadelphia and Washington. In Saturday's 99-95 victory over the Wizards, Joe Johnson pumped in 25 points and Al Horford followed suit with 21 points and 10 boards.
Josh Smith and Mike Bibby both had 12 points for first-year head coach Larry Drew. Smith added 10 boards to his totals and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford posted 15 points.
"They were able to come in and get us some points," Smith said of the reserve players. "They were able to give us some good minutes and give the starters some rest."
The division-leading Hawks are off to their best start since winning the first six games of the 2008-09 season.
After shocking the visiting Celtics last Wednesday, the Cavaliers have lost consecutive games to Toronto and Sacramento. They sustained a 107-104 loss to the Kings at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, as Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson finished with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
"The tale of two halves," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "We came out and got up and down the floor in the first half pretty well. We did okay defensively, but we still had some lapses. In the second half we stopped running and stopped attacking and they started to make everything."
The Cavs were outscored by a 56-37 margin in the second half.
J.J. Hickson had 15 points for Cleveland, which shot a decent 48.8 percent for the game. Antawn Jamison had just two points in less than 19 minutes of play and is bothered by a sore left knee. He is questionable for tonight. Guard Mo Williams (groin) hasn't played yet this season and is listed as probable.
Cleveland won three of four meetings with Atlanta last season and is 20-5 in the past 25 matchups between the clubs. Now that LeBron James is gone, the Hawks may have an easier time with the Cavs.
The Hawks are winless in their last six trips to the Q.