The Atlanta Hawks won 60 games during the regular season and ran away with the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. The Brooklyn Nets won 38 and needed a loss by the Indiana Pacers on the final day of the regular season just to make the playoffs.
The Hawks are heading into the playoffs confident but they are being careful not to look past a Brooklyn team that is full of veterans and players who have had some playoff success.
Jeff Teague on what sweeping Nets in regular season means: "Nothing. It’s a totally different season, totally different game." #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) April 17, 2015
In talking about the series, Kyle Korver noted that he has been on a 1 seed who lost to an 8 seed.— KL Chouinard Hawks (@AnaheimAmigos) April 17, 2015
One of the staples of Atlanta's successful regular season was their focus on the next task at hand. They did an excellent job of keeping their eyes on the next game and rarely allowed themselves the opportunity to look ahead or back at any game. Not surprising at all to see them take a similar approach in the playoffs. They may be heavy favorites but don't expect them to come into this series overconfident.
After all the Hawks need look no further than last year's first round matchup against the Pacers as to proof that an eight seed can push a No. 1 to the limit. The Hawks came into that series as heavy underdogs and with nothing to lose. They had a chance to steal the series in Game 6 but were unable to pull it off and ultimately fell in Game 7.
This group understands the opportunity they have and it sounds like they are ready to make the most of it.
Al Horford: "We have this great opportunity in front of us. We understand it. We understand we need to make the most of it." #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) April 17, 2015
Paul Millsap: "Our confidence is high. We feel like we can do something. How far we go, it’s up to us." #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) April 17, 2015