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Hawks top Rockets, clinch ninth seed in East

Sportsnaut
Apr 10, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu (17) attempts to secure the ball away from Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (6) during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Trae Young and Clint Capela recorded double-doubles while Danilo Gallinari added 26 points Sunday as the Atlanta Hawks secured the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament with a 130-114, season-ending road victory over the Houston Rockets.

The Hawks (43-39) closed the season with seven wins in nine games and will host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday in the second of two play-in games in the East. The Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers won Sunday to clinch the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.

Young paired 28 points with 11 assists for his 42nd points/assists double-double, tied with Mookie Blaylock (1993-94) for the most in a season in franchise history.

Capela added 18 points and 13 rebounds while Gallinari finished 6-for-8 on 3-pointers as the Hawks shot 55.3 percent (21 for 38) from behind the arc. De’Andre Hunter (22 points) was 4 for 4 on 3-pointers while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Young combined to shoot 8 for 16 from long range. Atlanta shot 51.7 percent from the field overall.

Rookie guard Jalen Green led Houston with a career-high 41 points, his sixth 30-point game in the past seven contests. Kevin Porter Jr. tallied 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Rockets (20-62) closed the season on a seven-game skid to secure the worst record in the league for the second consecutive season. Houston will select no lower than fifth in the upcoming draft.

The Hawks raced to a 17-point, first-quarter lead behind Capela’s 10 points in the frame. Atlanta rounded out its scoring attack by the intermission as all five scorers reached double figures, paced by Gallinari (18 points).

Young had a relatively quiet first quarter but gained momentum in the second with 11 points and three assists in the frame.

Houston sliced what was a 19-point deficit to seven points early in the third quarter, only for Young to convert a second-chance basket before Hunter added back-to-back 3s.

When the Rockets closed to 88-82 later in the period, Capela followed a pair of free throws with a second-chance basket before Bogdanovic hit a 3 that helped Atlanta reclaim control.

–Field Level Media