ATLANTA — When Al Horford tumbled to the court, his hopes of playing again this season all but snuffed out, everyone figured he'd take the Atlanta Hawks down with him.
Well, look who's in first place.
The Hawks (11-4) have won four straight since their All-Star center tore his left pectoral muscle, an injury that required surgery and will keep him out for most if not the entire rest of the season.
A talented but enigmatic team known for buckling under pressure, Atlanta has shown surprising grit and resolve in the wake of Horford's devastating injury.
Granted, all four wins have come at home, and three were against teams with losing records. Still, the Hawks have impressed by managing to hang together, led by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.