The New York Times (Ray Glier) reports: For five years, ever since a rebuilding project started with General Manager Billy Knight in 2003, Atlanta Hawks fans have resented failed draft picks (Shelden Williams), the refusal to draft a top-shelf point guard (Chris Paul, Deron Williams), the signing of the swingman Joe Johnson to a five-year, $70 million contract, and the squabbling over finances by a cadre of 10 owners. So when the Hawks were thumped in the first two games of a best-of-seven Eastern Conference series by the Boston Celtics, a collapse of the Hawks’ rebuilding project did not seem far away. Mike Woodson, the coach, was already in jeopardy of losing his job. Given the ease with which the Celtics sliced up the Hawks, it seemed very likely that the roster would be examined closely. But the Hawks have had the last word against the doomsayers. Atlanta suddenly looks like a promising franchise because it has taken the Celtics, who had the N.B.A.’s best record this season, to Game 7 on Sunday in Boston.