The Atlanta Hawks have been two completely different teams this season. Dominique Wilkins prefers the current version.
"You know, it's hard to believe we lost nine games in a row. This team has pulled itself together," Wilkins said after his 32 points led the Hawks to a 109-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night.Atlanta has won five straight games and seven of its last eight, evening its record at 11-11. Critical to the turnaround: Glenn Rivers has recovered from a pulled groin and Jon Koncak has moved to the starting lineup, allowing Moses Malone to provide a lift off the bench.
"I would say the biggest factor is Doc (Rivers) being healthy," first-year coach Bob Weiss said. "We're running more set plays, playing better defense. We're more unselfish and we're learning our roles better. It's taken time for them to adjust to me and me to them."
Wilkins took control of Monday's game in the third quarter, making seven straight floor shots and scoring 15 points during the period. The Hawks led 79-61 with 3:35 left in the quarter.
"The guys felt I was getting hot, and they kept going to me," Wilkins said. "When I get in a mode like that, I don't feel like anybody can stop me. It got us the confidence, the open shots."