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Hawks Clinch Playoff Berth

There’s still over a month left in the season, but the Atlanta Hawks have already clinched a playoff berth thanks to their best start in franchise history. The Hawks moved to 48-12 after a thrilling 104-96 comeback victory over the James Harden-less (and Dwight Howard-less) Houston Rockets, and making it even sweeter was the fact that the win came against Josh Smith.

Philips Arena gave it to the former Hawk all night, and Smith was happy to give it right back after a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter put the Rockets up 12. Moments later, Pablo Prigioni hit a three to make it a 15-point game, and Smith made it a point to rile up the crowd even more.

But then Atlanta turned the tables, finishing the game on a 32-9 run to quiet Smith, although he did some talking after the game. Mike Scott helped key the run with seven points, and Jeff Teague scored eight of his game-high 25 points down the stretch.

After the game, Smith called Hawks fans “bandwagoners,” according to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

“I mean, those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Hawks fans probably have little to care about what Smith has to say, as they’re too busy enjoying a team that currently has a 10-game lead in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta will cruise to the No. 1 seed, and the only question now is how far this team can make it in the postseason.

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