Quick random dribbles on the Hawks, who clinched a playoff berth Tuesday night.
1. The Hawks are likely slotted for the No. 3 playoff seed — although that could change within the next week or two. They have played much better recently and Mike Budenholzer is the league’s most underrated coach.
2. At their best, the Hawks move the ball and take and make good shots. But they still have the same issue as last season. Namely, who’s the go-to guy here?
3. That said, I still think the Hawks are a bigger threat than the Raptors to upset the Cavaliers in the East. The Hawks have been in big playoff series before. The Raptors haven’t been able to get out of the first round.
4. If the playoffs started today, and the Hawks and Raptors each won in the first round, they’d meet in the second. I’d pick the Hawks. Not that it means anything, as the Raptors are clearly no slouches. But I just have a harder time trusting the Raptors in the playoffs.
5. By the way, the Hawks are at the Raptors for real Wednesday.
6. Here is a look at the East playoff race:
- Cavaliers-x 52-22 —
- Raptors-x 49-24 (2.5)
- Hawks-x 45-30 (7.5)
- Heat 43-40 (8.5)
- Celtics 43-31 (9)
- Hornets 43-31 (9)
- Pistons 40-35 (12.5)
- Pacers 39-35 (13)
- Bulls 37-37 (15)
- Wizards 36-38 (16)
x – Clinched playoff berth
Eliminated from playoffs: Magic, Bucks, Knicks, Nets, 76ers.