Hidden in all the hype by the likes of Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks have taken care of business to the tune of a 16-6 record and a first-place tag atop the Southeast Division. The Heat are also 16-6 and share division bragging rights as well.
Atlanta went 4-1 on its recent road trip and return to Philips Arena riding a three-game winning streak and with wins in nine of the last 11 games. The Hawks have also ripped off six straight victories as the host and haven't lost in Atlanta since Jan. 5 versus Miami. They are 8-1 on their own court this season.
"Joe is the head of the snake with us and our guys understand their roles as far as what their jobs and responsibilities are, they have the open shots, they take their shots," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said about his team's offensive outburst.
Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia, and Jeff Teague all netted 10 points for the Hawks, who shot 51 percent for the game and improved to 11-0 when shooting better than 45 percent. The Hawks are 11-1 when Johnson scored 20-plus points.
The Hawks will also take on the 76ers, Suns and Pacers on the homestand.
Memphis will begin a three-game road trip tonight against Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Boston, and is 4-7 away from Beale Street this season. It has dropped three in a row as the visitor.
The Grizzlies put the brakes on a four-game losing streak that followed a season-high seven straight wins with a 100-97 overtime triumph versus Denver on Tuesday.
O.J. Mayo nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with 35.1 seconds remaining in overtime and finished with 18 points, while Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol both recorded double-doubles with 20 points and 13 rebounds to help erase a 12- point hole in the fourth quarter.
"The fact we were able to confront ourselves as a team, and person to person, allowed us to look at the game like, 'Hey, it's only 12 points. We can come back,' said Memphis guard Mike Conley, who had 11 points and six assists.
Memphis is only two games off the pace in the Southwest Division.
The Grizzlies and Hawks are meeting for the only time this season, and Atlanta swept a two-game set from a year ago. The Hawks have won four straight and nine of 10 matchups with Memphis, losers in five straight trips to Philips Arena.