Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins was in great spirits after the Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 103-96 to progress into the Eastern Conference Finals. "Everybody is fired up," Collins said. "We've worked all year to be in moments like this.
Game 7, I feel like we all had each other's back. We couldn't have wanted anything else more than we did tonight. We pulled through for a victory." After three consecutive losing seasons, the Hawks find themselves eight wins away from winning the NBA title.
"What we tried to do was build a culture that will produce winning and create a style that will give these guys an opportunity to win games," Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said. "That's respecting the game.
You play the game with effort every single night. You play the game together. And you trust in each other. "Those were the things I was trying to build with this group. I felt like we had some talent even though it was young talent.
If we could get that in our system and basically learn to execute and play to win, I felt we could win some games."
The Hawks play the Milwaukee Bucks next
The Hawks beat the New York knicks in the first round and the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to set up a Bucks series.
"We went to two tough places and played," Hawks star guard Trae Young said. "It was a great environment. Loved it. Loved the s--- talking. Loved everything about it. It's been great. We got two victories. I'm happy about that.
It's been fun." The Hawks are happy with their result but now they want more. "The confidence is still there. The confidence is going to remain the same," Young said. "Everybody is happy we made it to the Eastern Conference finals but we're not satisfied.
It's great that we're here, but we still got some games left." Kevin Huerter also hopes the Hawks will continue their great season. "It's been a long couple of years. It's been a long two years being at the bottom of the East," Huerter said.
"And this year, trying to flip a switch and our whole mindset changed. The development process was over. Just kind of the culmination up to this point, the three years of guys just working and believing what we're trying to build here in Atlanta and what we're continuing to try and build here. "It's been a great three years, but hopefully the ride is just starting."