The Hawks are in.
After nine losses in 11 games put the postseason in jeopardy, the Hawks clinched a playoff spot when the Nets defeated the Bulls on Saturday. With back-to-back victories over the Celtics and Cavaliers Thursday and Friday, respectively, the Hawks regained fifth place in the Eastern Conference and put themselves back in position for their 10th consecutive playoff appearance. The Hawks never fell out of playoff position down the stretch of the regular season, but it sure got interesting with the skid that included seven straight losses amidst a number of injuries.
The Bulls could not hold a nine-point lead in the final 4:30 and dropped a 107-106 decision to the Nets in Brooklyn to give the Hawks a berth without playing. Coincidently, two of the Hawks’ losses during their skid were to the Nets. The Hawks could also have clinched a playoff spot with a Heat loss to the Wizards on Saturday.
The Hawks (41-38) have three games remaining in the regular season. They host the Cavaliers on Sunday, the Hornets on Tuesday and end the season at the Pacers on Wednesday. Playoff position in still at stake. The Hawks will open on the road as they can only finish as high as fifth in the conference.
The streak of 10 straight postseason appearances in the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference.