Stepping back into the Hawks beat

Atlanta Hawks head Coach Mike Budenholzer Atlanta Hawks at UGA Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in Athens, Ga.   (Photo by John Kelley)

Hawks training camp when Mike Budenholzer (right) was happy to see me (background). That was a joke. (Photo by John Kelley)

I’m baaaaaaaaaack.

My hiatus is over as I prepare to join the Hawks in Portland on Wednesday for the start of a four-game West Coast trip. (For those not keeping track, the Hawks went 4-4 in my absence.)

I’m glad to report I never once signed into Twitter, only returned one e-mail and got my needed rest and a clean bill of health. I’m ready to go. I never did get to put my feet in some warm sand or hit a golf ball but I did rest. I’m also happy to report that the leaky kitchen faucet is no more (and it only took three trips to Lowe’s).

Many thanks to Matt Winkeljohn who covered the Hawks’ home games and to Carroll Rogers Walton and Danny Knobler who covered two of the road games. Thanks to those who took a few minutes to check on me during my break. It was meaningful and appreciated.

On to the business at hand. This is an important road trip for the Hawks. They have a real chance to once again establish themselves in the Eastern Conference. They were some bad losses (two to the Knicks and one to the Hornets) and some good wins (Bulls and Magic) in the past three weeks. Now, there is a real chance to start a good run coming off two straight home wins. They are on the road, but each of the four opponents on this trip are at least six games under .500 with:

— Trail Blazers 19-25

— Kings 17-23

— Nuggets 16-25

— Suns 13-29

That’s a combined record of 65-102.

Time to get to work.

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