Hawks point to bright future even after playoff rout by Cavs

By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) - The season didn't end like they wanted.

Not even close.

But, after shaking off the sting from a humiliating playoff defeat, the Atlanta Hawks feel like they're closer than ever to winning a championship.

They won 60 games for the first time in franchise history and claimed top seed in the Eastern Conference. They set another team record with 19 straight wins. They had four players selected for the All-Star Game, while Mike Budenholzer was voted coach of the year. They won two playoff series for the first time since moving to Atlanta in 1968.

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But the unexpected season came to a crashing halt in the conference final. The Hawks were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished off the series with a 118-88 blowout Tuesday night.

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