Atlanta Hawks Schedule: About to Get Even Tougher


The Atlanta Hawks’ early part of their 2015-16 schedule has been insane. Hopefully the second half is easier because it’s about to get even tougher very quickly.

The Atlanta Hawks are 9-5 in their first 14 games of 2015-16. They have the third highest winning percentage of any team in the Eastern Conference at .643, trailing only Cleveland (.750) and Chicago (.727). Atlanta entered 2015-16 view as a universal Top 4 team in the East by most covering the NBA. However given the early onslaught of games, their 9-5 mark is pretty remarkable all things considered.

As of today, November 20th, 2015, the Atlanta Hawks have as many wins (9) as their rival Washington Wizards have games played (9). Though Atlanta for the most part hasn’t played any world-class NBA team in the first chunk of their regular season, the pure frequency of games hasn’t been super beneficial.

-= Related: Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Nov. 19 =-

While players like Justin Holiday and Lamar Patterson are getting ample reps in HC Mike Budenholzer’s system, Tim Hardaway Jr. has still yet to see the floor and two of the team’s starters, PG Jeff Teague and SF Kent Bazemore are dealing with lingering ankle injuries.

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Since all 30 NBA franchises play an 82-game regular season schedule, the grueling nature of the Atlanta Hawks’ schedule will even out at some point, but it’s starting to feel a bit ridiculous. Atlanta will have played 20 games before December 1st, roughly a quarter of their regular season.

In the early part of 2015-16, Hawks fans have conditioned themselves to an NBA game every 48 hours or less. Having 72 hours between Wednesday night’s Sacramento Kings home victory and a tough road matchup at Quicken Loans Arena versus the Cleveland Cavaliers almost feels like too much idle time.

Before the Atlanta Hawks play the Cavs tomorrow night in a big Eastern Conference showdown, I’d like to point out that the Atlanta Hawks’ next 12 games are unfortunately more of the same in terms of frequency. To make matters worse, the competition is about to seriously heat up. Terrific!

Here are the Atlanta Hawks’ next 12 games: November 21st @Cleveland, November 24th vs. Boston, November 25th @Minnesota, November 27th @Memphis, November 28th @San Antonio, November 30th vs. Oklahoma City, December 2nd vs. Toronto, December 4th vs. Los Angeles Lakers, December 9th @Dallas, December 10th @Oklahoma City, December 12th vs. San Antonio, December 14th vs. Miami.

Outside of the Los Angeles Lakers, the other 9 teams seem like they have a shot at making the NBA Playoffs. The Hawks have already seen Boston, Minnesota, and Miami, going 1-2 against those three solid basketball teams. Miami is healthy this season, Boston has taken a leap forward under HC Brad Stevens, and Minnesota should contend for a 7 or 8-seed in the West with that young corps centered around Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Playing in Memphis and San Antonio are zero fun. The Grizzlies’ obvious physicality and the mind games Gregg Popovich likes to play with Coach Bud are equally exhausting. Going to Cleveland, Dallas, and Oklahoma City aren’t exactly breezes either, all led by Top 50 NBA Players of All-Time in LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant.

While I am greatly appreciative on the 5 days off between the Lakers (December 4th) and Mavericks (December 9th) games, two parts of this upcoming schedule are still so absolutely brutal. 4 games in 5 days from November 24th (Boston) to November 28th (@San Antonio) feels like an at best 2-2 record for the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta will want to win at home on the 24th when the organization retires Dikembe Mutombo‘s #55 versus the Celtics. Playing an upstart Timberwolves team in their place the next day doesn’t seem so advantageous anymore. Two days later, another back-to-back this one a brief Southwest Divisional road trip to Memphis and San Antonio sounds painful.

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The other part that seems very rough is Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio in a four-day stretch, with the first two games on the road. While Coach Bud knows how to beat Western teams from his lengthy tenure with the Spurs, that’s not really an enjoyable part of the schedule when your team is playing being run into the ground by their insane early part of their schedule.

I’m not saying that the Atlanta Hawks will dip below-.500 during these next 12 games, but if Atlanta wants to enter mid-December in good shape, they will need their health during this relentless end of 2015. Perhaps this is why Coach Bud is not rushing back either PG Jeff Teague or SF Kent Bazemore to the starting lineup. Could this explain why Tim Hardaway Jr. hasn’t played yet, as Bud is saving his fresh legs for the brutal stretch?

Next: Atlanta Hawks: Depth Crucial with Teague and Bazemore Out

Coach Bud had to have looked at the schedule before the start of the season and realized that 12-game stretch could unravel this team if there wasn’t careful planning about how to approach it. The Atlanta Hawks have done their best in their first 14 games. Who’s to say that they can’t take care of business in their next 12? I’d feel good about this team if they were around 16-10 after their December 4th game at home versus the rival Miami Heat. Let’s Go Hawks!