The Atlanta Hawks are trying to make a late season push for a better seed come playoff time after beating the Toronto Raptors last night. With the win over the Raptors, the Hawks are in the midst of a five-game winning streak at the perfect time late in the season. They’re quickly closing the gap in the Eastern Conference and now find themselves trailing by only one game for the No. 7 seed. However, Atlanta intends to get an even higher seed than that with a healthy Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague.
Their play against Toronto showcased two players that are clicking on all cylinders at the right time for the Hawks. Millsap has been a beast down low for Atlanta since returning from a knee contusion, but last night may have been his best performance of the season. The Raptors contained a number of Hawks’ players that usually provide better efforts, which meant it was up to the reliable power forward to pick up the slack. The NBA All-Star scored 19 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists for the first triple-double of his career.
Without Millsap, Atlanta probably doesn’t win this game, but even he needed help in order to beat Toronto. His teammate, Teague, provided this help with a fantastic offensive display of his own. The point guard is not notorious for his scoring, but lately he’s been tearing it up for the Hawks. Teague has the ability to drive by defenders at will, and he put this on full display in his match-up against the Raptors. He scored 34 points, which tied a career high, to go along with five assists and four steals to propel Atlanta to a big win.
Going forward, if these two can continue their recent stretch of good play, the Hawks can definitely make a move up the Eastern Conference standings. They are only one game back of the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 7 seed and trail the Washington Wizards by three and a half games for the No. 6 seed. There a lot of games left to be played, too. The Hawks have 16 games remaining, which gives them a realistic chance to make a move as long as the winning continues.