There’s a juicy carrot out there for the Hawks tonight.
Beat the Rockets and they clinch the No. 5 seed in the East. Clinch the No. 5 seed and then all of their tired bodies and minds might get a break over the final five games.
“I want to clinch before I even think about doing that,” L.D. said.
That’s some pretty good incentive.
“It should be for the guys,” Drew said. “A couple of weeks ago we were talking about it but kind of looking at how we were playing, looking at the schedule, it wasn’t a sure lock. Here we are with an opportunity to clinch it.”
No one can be blamed for not trusting the Hawks. A season’s worth of questions were not suddenly answered by two good efforts that included likely outliers like J.J. getting to the line, Josh draining tough jump shots and Zaza wrecking the team he likes to wreck most.
What L.D. thinks can most be duplicated is the focus and determination that allowed the Hawks to win ugly against good opponents.
“Probably the grind-em-out presence that we played with in both games,” Drew said. “Against Orlando, I thought we did a really good job in matching their physicality. I thought we did a good job in playing physical. Those type opponents, that’s the type of effort you have to have against them. I thought it was the same thing against Boston. Both games turned into half court games, we turned them into grind-em-out games and we played with a physical toughness.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat