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Atlanta Hawks: Push for the Playoffs


Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The second half of the season kicks off tonight for the Atlanta Hawks when they face the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks are currently sitting at 11th in the Eastern Conference through the midway point. This journey to the playoffs definitely looks like an uphill battle; out of the next 13 games for the Hawks, 10 of them are away games, which includes an eight-game road trip on the west coast. The Hawks finish the road trip in New Orleans on the backend of a back-to-back against a young squad whose superstar, Zion Williamson, is coming off of his first All-Star Game.

The Hawks will return to State Farm Arena in a primetime matchup against the Golden State Warriors. This game will have a battle in itself as Trae Young looks to slow down former two-time MVP Stephen Curry.

De’Andre Hunter’s Impact

Hawks are hoping to get De’Andre Hunter off of the injured reserve list soon. Once he gets healthy, he will be a key piece for the Hawks on the defensive end. Hunter hasn’t played since January; in his absence the Hawks have only held opponents to under 100 points scoring once. It is obvious that Atlanta is an offense-first team, but without Hunter’s presence on the defensive end opponents’ wings are scoring at ease down the stretch in close games.

Trae Young

Trae Young will be the main piece for the Hawks’ playoff push since he is the nucleus of the team. His numbers this year are amazing on the offensive end, being top 10 in the league in both points and assists. Although he ranks among the best in the league offensively, Atlanta will need Young to step up on the defensive end. The beginning of the second half will see him matchup against elite point guards like Kyle Lowry, De’Aaron Fox, Collin Sexton, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander just to name a few, so the Hawks hope he will be able to slow them down a bit.

Nate McMillian

Nate McMillian replaced Lloyd Pierce and became the interim head coach for Atlanta on March 1, since he stepped into his new role, he has led the Hawks to an undefeated record. Although he has only coached two games for the Hawks it is something to build from. McMillian is looking to build off the two wins and continue that momentum coming into the back half of the season.

Before coming to Atlanta, McMillian was the head coach for the Indiana Pacers. In his time as head coach, he had 4 consecutive first round exits, and a sweep at the hands of future Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat last year in the bubble.


Hopefully the change of coaching will give the Atlanta Hawks a system that is better suited for their play-style. Key pieces for the Hawks moving forward are going to be Rajon Rondo, Clint Capela, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter. This young team will lean on the veteran leadership of Rondo as they hope to get into the playoffs. It is always good for a young team to have a battle-tested vet to learn from, especially early in their career so they can see the dedication and hard work it takes to be a champion.


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