The Atlanta Hawks went into the land of Mickey Mouse and make believe and dispatched of the spell the Southeast Division-leading Orlando Magic had over them in the land of the Magic Kingdom sponsored by Amway. Now comes the tough part. They must quickly rebound and avoid a letdown against one of the league's worst teams.
Josh Smith, Al Horford and the Hawks (14-8) return to the Bulb for a Tuesday night matchup against the New Jersey Nets (7:00 PM, SportSouth, 97.9 FM). New Jersey sports the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 6-15. However, that does not mean that Atlanta can afford to take the bumbling team from Brick City lightly.
The last time these two teams met, the Hawks were in the midst of a terrible slump. They quickly fell behind and never were able to regain the lead, ultimately dropping a 107-101 overtime decision in Newark on Nov. 23. A much, much different Hawks team emerged after that loss as the Hawks went on a roll that was only stopped by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat (14-8) in South Beach on Saturday night.
Atlanta extended its streak to six of its last seven with an 80-74 win over Orlando (15-6) on Monday. Smith had 19 points and 13 boards and Horford added 16 and 10 for Atlanta, which defeated the Magic in Orlando for the first time since 2008.
Meanwhile, New Jersey has struggled since overachieving against Atlanta, dropping six of their last seven and four straight entering Tuesday's contest at Philips Arena. The Nets are also a terrible 2-9 on the road and have dropped their last seven games away from the Prudential Center -- their temporary home in Newark while they wait for their new arena to be built in Brooklyn.
Look for a lot of offense in this one as the Hawks have taken three straight over the Nets in Atlanta while scoring an average of 118 points.