An underwhelming Hawks regular season ends with a thud

Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17), of Germany, battles for the ball against Washington Wizards guard Garrett Temple, bottom, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A missed opportunity in D.C. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A festive night elsewhere in the NBA — Warriors hit 73! Kobe gets 60 (on 50 shots)! — was a damp squib for the local franchise. In a regular season that will be recalled for what didn’t happen, the Atlanta Hawks mustered a slew of Didn’t Happens on Wednesday.

Didn’t finish atop the Southeast Division for a second consecutive season.

Didn’t claim the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed.

Didn’t avoid Cleveland in Round 2.

In the grand scheme, the first two don’t much matter. The last matters much. Not since 2010 has the team with LeBron James failed to make the Eastern Conference final. Cleveland has LeBron James.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer claimed playoff seeding is no big deal. Perhaps taking those words to heart, his team gave a weird effort in Washington D.C. last night. Maybe the Hawks were distracted by the careening scores from Boston — the Miami Heat led by 24 after two quarters and trailed by 10 after four — but still: They were playing the Wizards, who worked without four starters. The Hawks lost by 11. They scored 59 points in the first half; they managed 39 in the second.

Had they won, they’d be facing the Heat in Round 1. (Maybe that explains Wednesday’s loss — the desire to avoid Miami, which beat the Hawks three of four.) Instead they’ll face the Celtics, who are young and rough and nicely coached by Brad Stevens. The Hawks should win the series — they hold the homecourt edge — but this is a scary opponent.

The Hawks won three of four against Boston. They met only once since Christmas, that coming Saturday in a game — the Hawks won by 11 — that positioned them to win the Southeast and claim the No. 3 seed. Then they lost at Cleveland and in D.C. They’re not exactly entering the playoffs on a high.

Which is, not to put too fine a point on it, the story of this uneventful regular season. The Hawks went from 60 wins and the No. 1 seed to 48 and No. 4. They didn’t fall off a cliff but consolidated no gains. They often played as if these 82 games didn’t count for much, which was kind of understandable given how last year’s playoffs unfolded.

The 60-win Hawks were taken to six games by sub-.500 Brooklyn in Round 1 and fifth-seeded (and ailing) Washington in Round 2; then they were swept by the Cavaliers. This time they’ll face a team in Round 1 that won more games than last year’s Round 2 opponent. And they’d better not sleep on the C’s.

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
chupika130
chupika130

celtics in 4   it's immoral to think the hawks could ever go to the finals

tyger
tyger

Cant win like this...hit re-config


Millsap     4-14  13pts.

KKorver     1-4     3pts.

Sefalosha  0-6    0pts.

Bazemore 1-7     4pts.

tyger
tyger

Hawks Easy Button 0.1


24. Wayne Selden 6'5 SG  Kansas

42. Damion Lee 6'6 G/SF Louisville

54. Alex Poythress 6'9 SF Kentucky

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

Well, at least the ASG is no more, although the new guys really fouled up the team's uniforms. I care more about the basketball than the clothes, though.

The_Shade
The_Shade

Hmmm, maybe I missed something.  I thought the Hawks DID win the Southeast Division last year.  How could they be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and NOT win their own division?

gphid97
gphid97

@The_Shade  The article states that the Hawks did not win back-to-back division titles, which they would have had they beat Washington. Obviously they won

bowman
bowman

Mike Budenholzer is a wonderful coach, and he helped change the culture of the Atlanta Hawks on the court. Mike Budenholzer in charge of player personnel decisions, however, is a disaster. Third or fourth in their division will be the standard until someone is hired, or brought back (hint, hint) to manage player personnel decisions.

DawginLex
DawginLex

Doesn't shock me that this happened. This team is not consistent at anything except losing big leads and losing games they should win. Love Coach Bud but we need a couple of new players

Big Wally
Big Wally

They exceeded my expectations in regards to wins.  I had them at 45.  Considering DMC and Korver had career years last year, they were due to win fewer games this year.  That said, the off season acquisitions hurt us.  Splitter was an expensive bust with a $9 mil salary.  THjr. had far too little impact and have to question why it took so long for him to get on the court.  Work ethic? motivation?  Got to be much better in this off season.

SalvorMallow
SalvorMallow

@MarkBradleyAJC The Hawks would play the Heat in the first round if we won, not Charlotte.Makes loss slightly less sickening. Only slightly.

EGinFLA
EGinFLA

@MarkBradleyAJC C'mon. Vegas o/u was 49. They hit 48. Underwhelming is the Bulls who were projected as a 3 seed.