Apr 15, 2024 - Sports

After underwhelming season, Hawks eye playoff berth through play-in tourney

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young grabs his wrapped finger after drawing a foul against the Charlotte Hornets in his first game back from injury. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks weren't a good team this year, but thanks to the NBA's play-in tournament, they have a chance to sneak their way into the playoffs.

State of play: The Hawks are the 10-seed in the East and finished with 36 wins and 46 losses. If they're able to knock off the No. 9 Chicago Bulls and then win again when facing the loser of the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 8 Miami Heat game, they can clinch the final spot in the playoffs.

Yes, but: That would mean a matchup with the Boston Celtics for the second year in a row. The Celtics finished this season with the NBA's best record.

  • Last year, Boston eliminated Atlanta in the first round in six games.
  • The Hawks won their last two matchups against the Celtics in thrilling fashion: a 30-point comeback and a last-second shot. Atlanta was without their superstar guard Trae Young for both games.

By the numbers: Here are five stats that defined this season for the Hawks.

28: The number of games Young missed this season, the most in his six-year career.

120.5: How many points per game the Hawks gave up, which is near the worst in the Association. They allowed 157 points in their final game of the season.

.512: The Hawks' home winning percentage. Atlanta struggled to win at State Farm Arena with the ease of years past, contributing to their losing record.

22.4: Dejounte Murray's points per game. It's the highest mark of his young NBA career, and a key reason the Hawks didn't completely crater in Young's absence.

3,868: Young set a new franchise record for most assists, taking the top spot from Doc Rivers, who had 3,866.

What's next: Atlanta takes on the Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday at 9:30pm in a win or go-home matchup. The game will be on ESPN.


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