Hawks Clinch a Playoff Berth
Long postseason drought over thanks to Indiana loss
By Mike Buss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2008 10:07 PM CDT
Atlanta Hawks' Joe Johnson (2) looks to pass as Philadelphia 76er's Louis Williams (23) defends during the fourth quarter of an NBA game on Saturday, April 5, 2008, in Philadelphia.    (AP Photo/H. Rumph, Jr.)
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(Newser) – For the first time since 1999, the Atlanta Hawks are headed to the NBA playoffs after clinching the final spot in the Eastern Conference when Indiana, the only other team with a mathematical chance, lost at Washington 117-110. The league's longest playoff drought ended with Atlanta enjoying an off day. "It's huge for our franchise,” fourth-year coach Mike Woodson said.

Atlanta's last playoff appearance came during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, when it finished second in the Central Division with a lineup that featured Dikembe Mutombo. Now in the Southeast Division, the Hawks made it back to the postseason largely because of a down year in the East. Even if they win their last two games, they'll still finish four games below .500.