The Atlanta Hawks have clinched a playoff spot with a 120-116 win over the Washington Wizards. This is the first time the Hawks have clinched a playoff since the 2016-17 season.
“One goal has been accomplished,” said Hawks head coach Nate McMillan. “Now we have an opportunity to play for homecourt. The job is not done.”
The Hawks won by committee by guard Trae Young led the way with 33 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.
“Us winning this here at home and for the fans to be able to experience clinching this together after not being in the playoffs a couple of years is great,” said Young.
The Atlanta Hawks continued their two-game home series against the Washington Wizards Wednesday night. After a nail-biting 125-124 win against the Wizards on Monday, the Hawks needed a win to move up in the Eastern Conference standings and secure a playoff berth. It would not be easy though with Russell Westbrook in town.
The Hawks got off to a fast start scoring 35 points in the first quarter. This is the 12th time they have done so all season. They lead 35-30 at the end of the first quarter.
Wizards guard Russell Westbrook managed to tie the game at 56 on a fastbreak layup with less than a minute to go on a fastbreak drive to the basket. He drained a three-pointer with .5 left in the quarter putting the Wizards ahead 59-56 at the half. Westbrook had 25 points at halftime.
The Wizards built off of the second-half momentum going on an 8-2 run to open the third quarter. They led 67-58 with 10:16 left in the third quarter.
The Wizards stretched their lead to as much as 13 points in the third quarter but the Hawks kept themselves in the game trailing by eight points at the end of the third quarter.
Wizards lead 91-83 at the end of the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, the Wizards was the team looking to build on their lead. They increased their lead to 12 after a slam dunk by forward Daniel Gafford.
The Hawks were able to get the Wizards lead down to nine as the score was 102-93 with less than nine minutes remaining in the quarter.
After guard Bogdon Bogdanovic made a three-pointer getting the Hawks within six points, forward John Collins splashed a wide open three-pointer making the score 102-99. The Wizards called a timeout with 7:16 remaining in regulation.
Less than four minutes remained as the Hawks trailed 110-106. Hawks guard Trae Young called a pick and roll with Clint Capela and hit a floater while getting fouled. Young made the free throw as the Hawks trailed by one point.
Westbrook and the Wizards continued to have an answer. After getting a stop up 112-109, Westbrook converted on a mid-range jumper to go up by five.
With thirty seconds remaining in regulation, the Hawks were on the break. Collins found himself wide open for a three-pointer and drained it as fans had State Farm Arena rocking. They led 117-116 with 24.4 seconds remaining.
The Wizards fell to having any answer on two straight possessions as guard Solomon Hill made two free throws and guard Kevin Huerter made it on to ice the game.
“I saw growth in this group,” said McMillan. “I saw a group that believed. You saw a team tonight that growed, believed in each other, and played a 48-minute game.”
Collins finished the game third in scoring with 20 points while Bogdonavic finished with 20 points.
The Hawks will be back at home tomorrow to face the Orlando Magic.