On Friday night, the Hawks held off the Jazz in Salt Lake City to move to a surprising and wonderful 24-8 record on the season. Hours later, the Raptors fell to the Warriors in Oakland, dropping Toronto to 24-9. That means that the Atlanta Hawks are No. 1 in the Eastern Conference ... for the first time since December 1997.
Here is some proof of the current status of the Hawks, straight from NBA.com.
According to Basketball-Reference.com's records, the Hawks held No. 1 in the East for the first two months of the 1997-98 season, finally conceding that place on December 27, 1997, when Michael Jordan dropped 47 points on them. That Hawks team featured Steve Smith, Mookie Blaylock, Dikembe Mutombo and Christian Laettner.
The No. 1 single in the United States when the Hawks were last No. 1 was Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" remake. The No. 1 film at the box office was Titanic. On TV, South Park and Buffy the Vampire Slayer both premiered in 1997 while Married ... With Children and Roseanne were still on the air. It's been a while.
The Hawks eventually finished that season No. 5 in the East. The Hornets beat them 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
The last time Atlanta No. 1 in the East this late in the season was 1994, which is before the Raptors even existed.
See our recent feature on 5 things you need to know about the Hawks to find out how they are doing it. And of course full Hawks coverage can be found at Peachtree Hoops.