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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Daily Dime: Hawks among the elite?

By Chris Forsberg

BOSTON -- Despite winning the first two meetings of the season against the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson refused to elevate the status of his team to NBA elite before Monday's game.

After Monday's 102-96 victory at the TD Garden, he doesn't have to. Having now rallied from halftime deficits three times against the Celtics this season, including twice on Boston's home turf, the Hawks have established themselves as legitimate postseason contenders simply with their play against a foe regarded by some as the class of the Eastern Conference.

Sure, the Celtics were playing without Kevin Garnett when the Hawks defeated them twice in the past four days. Yes, Atlanta has just as recently wilted against top competition (see Saturday's 32-point drubbing in Orlando).

But as Boston discovered two seasons ago during its own title run, no one wants to see the Hawks in the postseason. And isn't that the true sign of an elite squad?

Read more in today's DAILY DIME.