That four-game winning streak, sweet as it was, only served to hinder the Hawks as they tried to make it five.
Being able to adjust to whatever style and tempo that was thrown at them the past week gave the Hawks a false sense of security about exactly who and what they are.
What they are not is a team capable of flipping a switch and playing an up and down game with one team one night and then slogging through a rough and tumble affair the next.
Sure, they fancy themselves as that team. But reality is a bit different from the perception these Hawks have of themselves.
The Houston Rockets were counting on the Hawks doing exactly that, believing that the Hawks would take the bait and simply dive into an up and down affair the Hawks could never master.
"They sped us up," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We took the bait and were not able to stop them. We just did not execute."
It was more than that. Execution might be a convenient excuse for some of the problems. Drinking too much of your own Kool-Aid.
"We just got seduced into their style of play," Al Horford said.
It can't happen again for the Hawks.
ROCKETS 114, HAWKS 109: The Hawks packed that four-game winning streak for their Final Four weekend trip to Houston to face the Rockets and fully expected to leave town with it stretched to five games. But a funny thing happened on the way out of Texas. The Rockets happened, rallying from an 11-point lead after halftime to upend the Hawks. A last-gasp chance at tying the game came up short, when Hawks second-year point guard Jeff Teague couldn't get off a clean shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Hawks' surge came at just the right time, as Philadelphia was closing in on them for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They cannot afford another extended stretch of futility, so don't expect this loss to start a trend.
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