Power Rankings: Hawks Soar After Impressive Week

NBA.com – 15th

The Hawks’ sweep of their home-and-home with the Cavs will go down as one of the crazier things to happen in this crazy season. On Friday, they won in Cleveland without any of their regular starters. On Sunday, they came back from 26 points down at the start of the fourth quarter to win in overtime. In both games, they got a big lift from their bench, which has had its ups and downs this season. One win in their final two games would clinch the No. 5 seed and a first round matchup with Washington. The two teams combined to score just 95.1 points per 100 possessions in their four regular season meetings, the lowest mark of any potential playoff matchup (first round or otherwise).

ESPN – 14th

For all the second-half slippage that the Hawks have endured, they have at least preserved the only active double-digit streak of playoff appearances on the NBA map outside of San Antonio. Gregg Popovich has steered the Spurs to 20 consecutive trips to the postseason … and now his protégé Mike Budenholzer has held Atlanta together sufficiently to book a 10th successive playoff berth for this franchise. Even more enjoyable, surely, is the double dose of torment Atlanta has heaped upon Cleveland over the past few days, first by beating the Cavs on their home floor despite resting Paul MillsapDennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, then with that furious rally at home Sunday night. Atlanta is the first team to trail by 26 points or more at the start of the fourth quarter and find a way to win since the Lakers erased a 27-point deficit to upend Dallas on Dec. 6, 2002. Teams with a lead that big entering the fourth quarter had won 840 consecutive games since the Lakers’ comeback against the Mavs.

CBS Sports – 12th

The Hawks have made the playoffs for 10 years in a row. That’s not going to get talked about, but a standard the franchise has managed to hold, and that should matter, even if postseason success has eluded them.

Sports Illustrated – 14th

This, kids, is how you fall ass-backwards into a playoff spot.

Pro Basketball Talk – 14th

Last week they swept a home-and-home from the Cavaliers where Atlanta had none of their regular starters for the first game them came from 26 points down in the fourth to win the second. Insane. One more win, against Charlotte or Indiana this week, and the Hawks get the five seed and a shot at John Wall and the Wizards in the first round.

USA Today – 13th

Not only are they riding a three-game winning streak, but the Hawks — who clinched their 10th straight postseason berth on Saturday night, adding another year onto the second-longest active postseason streak in the NBA behind the Spurs — won those games against Boston and Cleveland (twice). They’re back on track after losing seven straight in late March.

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