LOS ANGELES (AFP) ‒ Trae Young scored 33 points to propel the Atlanta Hawks to a 120-116 come-from-behind victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and into the NBA playoffs.
John Collins, fed by Young, drained a go-ahead three-pointer with 24.8 seconds left to play as the Hawks erased a 13-point third-quarter deficit and secured the win.
The Hawks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Although they have avoided the NBA’s play-in tournament, just where they’ll end up seeded in the Eastern Conference remains to be seen.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points for the Hawks and Collins added 18.
Wednesday off, their spot confirmed when the Boston Celtics fell 102-94 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The loss to the Cavs ‒ who had lost 11 straight and been eliminated from playoff contention ‒ means the Celtics will battle in the play-in tournament for a berth in the playoffs proper.
Kevin Love scored a season-high 30 points for the Cavs and Collin Sexton added 28, while Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 29 points.
The Celtics had a long-shot chance to catch the Knicks for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot, but instead they’ll be among the seventh-through 10th-placed teams in the East who will fight for the last two post-season berths in the play-in tournament.
Already reeling from the loss of Jaylen Brown for the rest of the season with a torn left wrist ligament, the Celtics were without injured Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart as they lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
Atlanta 120, Washington 116
Brooklyn 128, San Antonio 116
Cleveland 102, Boston 94
Dallas 125, New Orleans 107
Portland 105, Utah 98
LA Lakers 124, Houston 122