The Atlanta Hawks showed steady improvement each of the past five years with Mike Woodson at the helm. The 2004-2005 Hawks won only 13 games and had the worst record in the NBA. Every year since then the Hawks have increased their win total and last season Woodson led them to the fifth most wins in franchise history (53).
Despite continued regular season improvement, the Hawks continued to fail in the postseason. After three years of losing more games than they won in the playoffs the Hawks decided to terminate Woodson.
First-time Head Coach Larry Drew inherits a roster that won 53 games last season. Drew, who was one of Woodson’s assistants before being named the head coach, is expected to lead the Hawks to heights that Woodson could not.
Although the Atlanta Hawks have showed maturation and improvement, they continue to show a lack of discipline which will prove to be a challenge for a first-time head coach. But by hiring Drew, the Hawks kept a familiar face on the sideline, which should help ease the transition.
The first year of the Larry Drew era will find the Hawks in the same relative position they were in at the end of the Woodson era-a second tier Eastern Conference team.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2010-2011 Atlanta Hawks:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 27 at Memphis- Hawks open the season with a road win over the Memphis Grizzlies (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Friday, October 29 at Philadelphia- Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center (Record 2-0).
Game 3, Saturday, October 30 versus Wizards- Hawks complete a back-to-back by defeating the Washington Wizards for the 10th straight time (Record 3-0).
Game 4, Tuesday, November 2 at Cleveland- Hawks continue their hot start with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 4-0).
Game 5, Wednesday, November 3 versus Pistons- Hawks get a home win over the visiting Detroit Pistons (Record 5-0).
Game 6, Friday, November 5 at Minnesota- Hawks defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves win their fourth straight on the road (Record 6-0).
Game 7, Sunday, November 7 versus Suns- Hawks drop a close home game to the Phoenix Suns (Record 6-1).
Game 8, Monday, November 8 at Orlando- Hawks fall to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center (Record 6-2).
Game 9, Wednesday, November 10 versus Bucks- Hawks lose to the visiting Milwaukee Bucks and suffer their third straight loss (Record 6-3).
Game 10, Friday, November 12 versus Jazz- Hawks get back on track with a win over Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz (Record 7-3).
Game 11, Sunday, November 14 versus Minnesota- Hawks complete a 2-1 home stand with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 8-3).
Game 12, Tuesday, November 16 at Indiana- Hawks drop a road game to the pesky Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse (Record 8-4).
Game 13, Saturday, November 20 versus Mavericks- Hawks rebound with a home win over the Dallas Mavericks (Record 9-4).
Game 14, Monday, November 22 versus Boston- Hawks fall to the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics (Record 9-5).
Game 15, Tuesday, November 23 at New Jersey- Hawks get back on track with a road win over the New Jersey Nets (Record 10-5).
Game 16, Thursday, November 25 versus Wizards- Hawks get a home win over the Washington Wizards on Thanksgiving Day (Record 11-5).
Game 17, Saturday, November 27 at New York- Hawks fall to the New York Knicks for the fourth straight time (Record 11-6).
Game 18, Sunday, November 28 at Toronto- Hawks play their fifth game in seven days and lose to the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 11-7).
Game 19, Wednesday, December 1 versus Grizzlies- Hawks begin December with a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies (Record 12-7).
Game 20, Friday, December 3 versus 76ers- Hawks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers and get their third straight win at Philips Arena (Record 13-7).
Game 21, Saturday, December 4 at Miami- Hawks fall to the Miami Heat All-Star Trio at American Airlines Arena (Record 13-8).
Game 22, Monday, December 6 at Orlando- Hawks lose to the Orlando Magic and drop their second consecutive game in Florida (Record 13-9).
Game 23, Tuesday, December 7 versus New Jersey- Hawks play their fourth game in five nights and fall to the visiting New Jersey Nets (Record 13-10).
Game 24, Friday, December 10 at San Antonio- Hawks continue to struggle as they lose a close game to the San Antonio Spurs (Record 13-11).
Game 25, Saturday, December 11 versus Pacers- Hawks get a much-needed win over the Indiana Pacers (Record 14-11).
Game 26, Tuesday, December 14 at Detroit- Hawks get a road win over the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Record 15-11).
Game 27, Thursday, December 16 at Boston- Hawks defeat the Celtics to avenge a November loss (Record 16-11).
Game 28, Friday, December 17 versus Bobcats- Hawks beat the Charlotte Bobcats and get both halves of a back-to-back (Record 17-11).
Game 29, Sunday, December 19 at New Jersey- Hawks get their fifth straight win with a victory over the Nets (Record 18-11).
Game 30, Monday, December 20 versus Magic- Hawks fall to the Orlando Magic for the third time this season (Record 18-12).
Game 31, Wednesday, December 22 versus Cavaliers- Hawks get back on track with a home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 19-12).
Game 32, Sunday, December 26 at New Orleans- Hawks get stung by the Hornets at New Orleans Arena (Record 19-13).
Game 33, Monday, December 27 at Milwaukee- Hawks get their 20th win of the season with a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks (Record 20-13).
Game 34, Wednesday, December 29 versus Warriors- Hawks get a double-digit victory over the high-scoring Golden State Warriors (Record 21-13).
Game 35, Friday, December 31 at Oklahoma City- Hawks close 2010 with a road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 21-14).
Game 36, Sunday, January 2 at Los Angeles Clippers- Hawks rebound from the Thunder loss with a road win over the Clippers (Record 22-14).
Game 37, Tuesday, January 4 at Sacramento- Hawks win a close game over the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena (Record 23-14).
Game 38, Wednesday, January 5 at Utah- Hawks complete a respectable 2-2 road trip with a loss to the Utah Jazz (Record 23-15).
Game 39, Saturday, January 8 versus Pacers- Hawks get a home win over the Indiana Pacers (Record 24-15).
Game 40, Tuesday, January 11 versus Bucks- Hawks win a competitive matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks (Record 25-15).
Game 41, Wednesday, January 12 at Toronto- Hawks avenge a late November loss by beating the Raptors (Record 26-15).
Game 42, Saturday, January 15 versus Rockets- Hawks beat Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets (Record 27-15).
Game 43, Monday, January 17 versus Kings- Hawks get a home win over the Sacramento Kings on Martin Luther King Day (Record 28-15).
Game 44, Tuesday, January 18 at Miami- Hawks lose to Southwest Division rival Miami Heat for the fifth straight time (Record 28-16).
Game 45, Friday, January 21 versus Hornets- Hawks win a close game over the New Orleans Hornets at Philips Arena (Record 29-16).
Game 46, Saturday, January 22 at Charlotte- Hawks drop a road game to the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena (Record 29-17).
Game 47, Wednesday, January 26 at Milwaukee- Hawks fall to the Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 29-18).
Game 48, Friday, January 28 versus Knicks- Hawks drop a home game to the visiting New York Knicks (Record 29-19).
Game 49, Saturday, January 29 at Dallas- Hawks lose to the Mavericks and suffer their fourth straight loss (Record 29-20).
Game 50, Wednesday, February 2 versus Raptors- Hawks outrun and outgun the Toronto Raptors en route their 30th win (Record 30-20).
Game 51, Friday, February 4 versus Clippers- Hawks beat the visiting Los Angeles Clippers (Record 31-20).
Game 52, Saturday, February 5 at Washington- Hawks play their third game in four nights and fall to the Wizards (Record 31-21).
Game 53, Tuesday, February 8 versus 76ers- Hawks rebound with a home win over the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 32-21).
Game 54, Saturday, February 12 versus Bobcats- Hawks win a close game over the Charlotte Bobcats (Record 33-21).
Game 55, Monday, February 14 at Detroit- Hawks begin a seven-game road trip with a victory over the Detroit Pistons (Record 34-21).
Game 56, Wednesday, February 16 at New York- Hawks defeat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden as they head into the All-Star Break (Record 35-21).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 22 at Los Angeles Lakers- Hawks resume their road trip with a loss to the Lakers (Record 35-22).
Game 58, Wednesday, February 23 at Phoenix- Hawks fall to the Suns and lose both halves of a back-to-back (Record 35-23).
Game 59, Friday, February 25 at Golden State- Hawks lose their third straight as they fall to the Warriors at Oracle Arena for the fourth consecutive time (Record 35-24).
Game 60, Sunday, February 27 at Portland- Hawks continue to struggle and fall to the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 35-25).
Game 61, Monday, February 28 at Denver- Hawks finish a horrendous 2-5 road trip with a loss to the Nuggets (Record 35-26).
Game 62, Wednesday, March 2 versus Bulls- Hawks fall to the Chicago Bulls to open a four-game home stand (Record 35-27).
Game 63, Friday, March 4 versus Thunder- Hawks finally get back on track with a tough home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 36-27).
Game 64, Sunday, March 6 versus Knicks- Hawks get a victory over the New York Knicks at Philips Arena (Record 37-27).
Game 65, Tuesday, March 8 versus Lakers- Hawks fall to the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers (Record 37-28).
Game 66, Friday, March 11 at Chicago- Hawks lose to the Bulls at the United Center (Record 37-29).
Game 67, Saturday, March 12 versus Trail Blazers- Hawks begin a five-game home stand with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 38-29).
Game 68, Wednesday, March 16 versus Nuggets- Hawks defeat the Denver Nuggets and avenge an earlier loss (Record 39-29).
Game 69, Friday, March 18 versus Heat- Hawks drop a home game to the Miami Heat (Record 39-30).
Game 70, Sunday, March 20 versus Pistons- Hawks rebound with a victory over the Detroit Pistons (Record 40-30).
Game 71, Tuesday, March 22 versus Bulls- Hawks fall to the Chicago Bulls and lose the season series 0-3 (Record 40-31).
Game 72, Wednesday, March 23 at Philadelphia- Hawks visit the City of Brotherly Love and get a win over the 76ers (Record 41-31).
Game 73, Saturday, March 26 versus Nets- Hawks get a home win over the New Jersey Nets (Record 42-31).
Game 74, Sunday, March 27 at Cleveland- Hawks drop a road game to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena (Record 42-32).
Game 75, Wednesday, March 30 versus Magic- Hawks get an impressive win over the Orlando Magic (Record 43-32).
Game 76, Friday, April 1 versus Celtics- Hawks defeat the Boston Celtics and get two quality wins in a row (Record 44-32).
Game 77, Sunday, April 3 at Houston- Hawks get their third straight win with a victory over the Rockets at the Toyota Center (Record 45-32).
Game 78, Tuesday, April 5 versus Spurs- Hawks continue to roll with a home win over the San Antonio Spurs (Record 46-32).
Game 79, Friday, April 8 at Indiana- Hawks win a close game over the Pacers (Record 47-32).
Game 80, Saturday, April 9 at Washington- Hawks get a road win over John Wall and the Wizards (Record 48-32).
Game 81, Monday, April 11 versus Miami- Hawks defeat the Heat and win their seventh straight game (Record 49-32).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 13 at Charlotte- Hawks close their season with a road win over the Bobcats (Record 50-32).
Prediction: The Atlanta Hawks will put together two consecutive 50-win seasons for the first time in over a decade.
More 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions:
Miami Heat 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Utah Jazz 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Chicago Bulls 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Information from ESPN.com’s Atlanta Hawks Schedule, Basketball-Reference.com’s Mike Woodson Coaching Record, and NBA Universe’s Atlanta Hawks Record was used for this article.