On March 1, the Hawks were 14-20. On June 23, they won Game 1 of a third consecutive playoff series ON THE ROAD. In this team’s Atlanta manifestation, it had seen a third playoff series in a single year only once — in 2015, when Mike Budenholzer’s team lost Game 1 of the Eastern finals at home and every game thereafter. Adding to the weirdness, these Hawks lead Bud’s latest team 1-nil.
These Hawks are one of three teams to reach the conference finals after being sub-.500 at the All-Star break. The other two were the 2011-12 Celtics — how were the Celtics ever under .500? — and the 1983-84 Suns. Neither won Game 1 of the conference finals on the road. Neither advanced to the NBA Finals. The Hawks have managed the first and look more than capable of doing the second.
So what I’m trying to say — for the 700th time in a month, and I’m not sure I’m any closer to succeeding — is that we’re witnessing something historic. Not just for the Hawks, whose playoff performances pre-Trae were, in the main, pedestrian. For ANY TEAM EVER. (Apologies for shouting again.)