For most of the season Hawks center Al Horford has expressed frustration and skepticism about his team's approach to defense.

So it's noteworthy that even Horford has been impressed with Atlanta's defensive commitment lately.

"I'm actually happy," said Horford, a team captain. "In the past I haven't felt like that. Guys are really buying into defense. Even though we struggled defensively, we found a way."

Atlanta's four-game winning streak entering Sunday coincided with their best four-game defensive stretch since late December in terms of defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession). The Hawks stymied Eastern Conference bottom feeders New Jersey and Cleveland and then did the same to likely postseason opponent Orlando and defending East champion Boston.

Atlanta's victories against Boston and Orlando both featured some uncharacteristic elements that Atlanta may not be able to sustain over the long term. Coach Larry Drew said he thinks the Hawks can duplicate the toughness they showed in those games.