The Union Recorder

Local Sports

March 28, 2013

Hawks beat Raptors 107-88 to clinch playoff berth

TORONTO — The Atlanta Hawks weren't expected to make it back to the playoffs after trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams last summer.

It must feel good to silence the doubters.

Al Horford scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Teague had 24 points and 13 assists and the Hawks clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight season, beating the Toronto Raptors 107-88 on Wednesday night.

"I'm really proud of this bunch with what we accomplished tonight," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "There were a lot of people that counted us out at the start of the season and said we wouldn't be in this position. With all the changes that we made, here we are."

Teague was just as delighted.

"This is a group no one really gave a chance," he said. "For us to come together and be in the playoffs this year, it's a lot of excitement."

After being hired last June, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry turned over the roster by dealing Johnson to Brooklyn and Williams to Utah. Willie Green was sent to the Clippers, Jordan Farmar was waived and Kirk Hinrich left as a free agent.

Atlanta's success at weathering those changes means a lot to Horford.

"This team could have easily gone the other way," he said. "We haven't had the perfect year, a lot of injuries. We've been up and down as a team. I'm proud of the way we've been able to hang in there and play through adversity. That's been the biggest thing for us."

The Hawks still have a shot at earning home court advantage in the first round. They entered play Wednesday tied with Chicago for the fifth seed, just 2 1/2 games behind fourth-place Brooklyn.

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