Neither the Pistons nor the Bobcats are part of the picture that Hawks coach Larry Drew has posted in the team’s locker room.
That board details the Eastern Conference standings, where the Hawks have a good chance to climb from sixth to high as third.
“I want them to visualize it,” Drew said.
But that picture could be ruined for the Hawks (32-23) if they can’t dispatch with the likes of Detroit and Charlotte, their opponents the next two nights.
“Our focus, our mentality has to be [about] what we do,” Drew said Thursday. “One thing we are talking about is we have to get into that playoff mode. As we wind down the season we don’t take possessions off, irregardless of opponent, with the mindset of just being consistent on both ends of the floor.”
The Hawks appeared mostly focused while easing past Charlotte, with the NBA’s worst record, Wednesday. They play host to Detroit on Friday which, like the Bobcats, will come to Philips Arena after playing the previous night. The Hawks are at Charlotte on Saturday before games at Boston and Orlando on Wednesday and Friday.
In addition to playoff positioning, the potential for rest may provide the Hawks with incentive to dominate lesser opponents. The starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter Wednesday after the reserves extended the big lead in the fourth quarter.
“It was real important,” Hawks forward Josh Smith said. “It’s been vital, especially this season, having had a lot of injuries. It’s nice to have a bench as deep as we have. That’s because we’ve had people out; [bench] guys have played major minutes and blossomed.
“It just feels good to be able to get some rest and watch them play a little bit.”
No rust for Pargo
Hawks guard Jannero Pargo looked pretty good for a guy barely two weeks removed from an emergency appendectomy. He sounded almost surprised to be feeling so good after playing 16 minutes against Charlotte on Wednesday.
“I actually don’t feel that bad,” he said.
Pargo checked in for the start of the second quarter and almost immediately assisted on Willie Green’s basket. Pargo recorded another assist during four-minute stint, and it looked as if he would be done for the night once the Hawks ran up the big lead.
But Pargo started the final quarter and was even better. He scored 12 points, making five of six shots, and recorded four assists without a turnover while also playing spirited defense.
Pargo was doing the same kind of things before his surgery, but even Drew didn’t expect he would find his form so quickly.
“I was very surprised,” Drew said. “He came out and had a nice bounce to his jump shot, got us into our offense.”
Drew said forward Vladimir Radmanovic’s sore back tightened at practice Thursday is at just 75 percent strength. Radmanovic has missed eight of the past 11 games with the injury.
“It’s something we can’t rush,” Drew said. “We have to allow it to heal, and hopefully as each day goes, he will start to fell better.”
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