Eventually the opponents will get tougher, and the Hawks will take to the road.

Maybe that's when they no longer can patch the hole created by Al Horford's injury as they have during their current three-game winning streak without him. By then the Hawks might discover they can't keep their Eastern Conference playoffs streak alive at five years while missing their All-Star center.

That's not the way the Hawks see it.

"If you look at the East, it's pretty much wide open," Hawks forward Tracy McGrady said.