by PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks fought hard just to make the playoffs. They battled to the very last second against the top-seeded team in the East. But in the end, there’s only one word to describe this season. Disappointing. Coming off a surprising run to the conference final in 2021, the Hawks entered this season thinking of themselves as a legitimate championship contender. Instead, they took a big step backward, needing a late surge and two straight play-in wins just to make the playoffs. They didn’t last long in the postseason, falling to the Miami Heat 4-1 in the opening round.