Atlanta Hawks clinch spot in NBA playoffs

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t expected to make it back to the playoffs after trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams last summer.

It must feel good to silence the doubters.

Al Horford scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Teague had 24 points and 13 assists and the Hawks clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight season, beating the Toronto Raptors 107-88 on Wednesday night.

”I’m really proud of this bunch with what we accomplished tonight,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. ”There were a lot of people that counted us out at the start of the season and said we wouldn’t be in this position. With all the changes that we made, here we are.”

Teague was just as delighted.

”This is a group no one really gave a chance,” he said. ”For us to come together and be in the playoffs this year, it’s a lot of excitement.” …

Josh Smith scored 19 points for the Hawks, who used a 16-0 run midway through the fourth to win for the 13th time in their last 15 meetings with the Raptors…

Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points, DeMar DeRozan had 14, Terrence Ross 13 and Alan Anderson 12 for the Raptors, who have lost four straight and 11 of 14.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press