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The Atlanta Hawks completed one of the most remarkable comebacks in NBA history on Sunday afternoon, having trailed by 26 points in the fourth quarter they took the game to overtime where the eventually prevailed 126-125 over the defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving (45 points) and LeBron James (32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists) combined for 77 points. Paul Millsap scored 22 points (including the game-tying shot at the end of the fourth quarter) while Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points.

In the process, the Hawks also won the season series 3-1.

Standings watch

The Hawks remain in control of the 5-seed, holding a game advantage against the Milwaukee Bucks while also owning the tiebreaker over the Bucks. For the Hawks to fall out of the 5-seed now, they would have to lose their final two games (vs. Charlotte and @ Indiana) while the Bucks would have to win their last two games (vs. Charlotte and @ Boston).

With the Washington Wizards now locked into the 4-seed, it seems as though that Wizards-Hawks is going to be the first round matchup we’ll see. A Bucks loss on Monday would all but guarantee (depending on the Indiana Pacers, who sit two games adrift of the Hawks, whose the tiebreaker with the Hawks is yet to be decided) that matchup tonight.

Comeback of comebacks

A giant heading here, sure, why not?

The Hawks came back from a 26 point deficit in the fourth quarter and the Hawks PR Twitter account, postgame, tweeted a whole bunch of great stats surrounding the comeback:

(Those three occasions of coming back from 20-or-more points would be @ Milwaukee back on December 9th, @ Houston on February 2nd and now vs. Cleveland. Of course, the two occurrences of coming back from 20-or-more points in the fourth are those Houston and Cleveland games)

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With the regular season winding down rapidly, every remaining game for the Atlanta Hawks is a must-win game. They’re currently locked in a playoff scrap against the Milwaukee Bucks for the 5-seed, with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers just 1.5 games behind the Hawks occupying the 7th, 8th and 9th seeds. Every game is so important. It is essential for the Hawks to avoid those 7 and 8 seeds. They should want absolutely no part of a round one series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who could finish 1st or 2nd in the Eastern Conference.

But while the Hawks are furiously engaged in their own playoff race they are set to play a major part in another playoff race — the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are separated by just one game. With three meetings with these two contenders in the last five games of the regular season, no other team in the NBA has more of a say in who claims the top seed in the East than the Hawks do.

And it all starts on Thursday night when the Hawks tackle the Celtics — who are on the second night of a back-to-back having been blown out by the Cavs on Wednesday night — at Philips Arena in another throwback night, donning the Pete Maravich-era jerseys. The season series is tied 1-1 with the both teams winning games in each other’s building. While the Hawks shouldn’t settle a first round series against the Celtics (if that’s what it came to), the Celtics are probably the one team out of Cleveland, Boston and Washington that the Hawks would prefer to face in a round two matchup, should they get there.

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David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images

David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks handed the last unbeaten team in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers, their first loss of the season — in the Q no less — triumphing 110-106 over the defending champs. The Hawks were led by a career night from Dennis Schröder (which we’ll get to) while Paul Millsap poured in 21 points and Kent Bazemore added 23, picking up from where he left off against Houston.

Streaks snapped

Not only did the Hawks halt the Cavs’ six game win streak but they ended their own 11 game losing streak that the Cavs have held over them since 2015.

The Cavaliers were just that one team (besides the Spurs) that the Hawks just couldn’t beat. Prior to this season, the Cavs were just built to beat the Hawks. No one could stop LeBron at the rim and Tristan Thompson did whatever he wanted on the offensive glass as the Cavs would destroy the Hawks in the rebounding battle. But if last night was any indication of things to come, that might be a thing of the past…

“It’s definitely a different year.” — Kent Bazemore

Dwight Howard, though only joining the Hawks this summer, was aware of the Hawks’ 11 game losing skid to the Cavs and he wanted to right that wrong.

“I aware of it (the losing streak to the Cavs). I’m from Atlanta. I’ve watched in the playoffs. That’s all in the past. We want to change that. We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to think about it. It happened but we want to make sure it never happens again.” — Dwight Howard

Dwight played a key role in snapping this streak and we’ll get to that very soon.

I thought this was such an important win for the Hawks. This Cavs team has held a vice at Atlanta’s neck for the past two seasons and for the Hawks to exorcise some of those demons with this win (even though this wasn’t a playoff win) was so important heading into future games between these two sides, just to give them the confidence of “You know what, we can beat this team”.

As Kent Bazemore said, this year sure is a different year, and there was one aspect of this game where things were definitely different…

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Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Hawks picked up their second victory of the preseason with a 99-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wait… The Hawks actually beat the Cavaliers?? The 11 game losing streak that has run since the 2015 Conference Finals is over?? What’s that? It doesn’t actually count because no relevant Cavalier played and it’s only a preseason game? Oh…

Anyways, they picked up the win and it was so good to finally be able to watch the Hawks in action after their first two games of the preseason (against the Grizzlies and the Spurs) were not televised.

Let’s just get stuck in, shall we?

Dwight Howard shines in Philips debut

Dwight Howard’s first competitive game at Philips Arena was a decent one, you could say. He scored 26 points (on 11-of-15 shooting), collected eight rebounds, and blocked two shots in just under 24 minutes of action.

He was so dominant in the first quarter and there’s so much to digest, I don’t know where to start. But before we get stuck into the footage, do — please — keep in mind that this is preseason and the opposition Dwight was playing against was not of the highest quality. Important to note, as some tend to get carried away after one game.

Defensively, we always knew what Dwight we were going to see — so long as he was locked in. But we all knew if he was locked in that Dwight was always going to be a force to be reckoned with at the rim. As Jordan McRae found out the hard way…

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