The Hawks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017, while the Knicks return for the first time since 2013.
As the NBA’s regular season nears its end, the Eastern Conference playoff field added two more teams into mix Wednesday night.
The Knicks and Hawks secured postseason bids, ending multiyear playoff droughts in the process. New York clinched its spot thanks to the Celtics’ 102–94 loss to the Cavaliers, while Atlanta locked up its berth by beating the Wizards, 120–116.
For the Knicks, this will be their first time in the playoffs since 2013, when the team lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Pacers in six games. Since then, New York posted seven straight losing seasons before breaking through this year. The Knicks currently occupy the No. 6 seed, which would pit them against the Bucks in the first round.
The Hawks have won five of their last six games to secure their playoff spot. Against Washington on Wednesday, point guard Trae Young scored 33 points on 12-of-25 shooting with nine assists and eight rebounds. Atlanta is currently the No. 4 seed in the East and would face the Heat in the first round.
The Hawks last made the playoffs in 2017, losing in the first round to the Wizards. That was the final season in a 10-year playoff streak during which Atlanta made it out of the first round five times and advanced to the conference finals in 2015. In the three seasons between playoff appearances, the Hawks went 73–158, good for the third-fewest wins among Eastern Conference teams in that span.
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