Atlanta’s Trae Young puts up a shot against the Washington Wizards in the second half Wednesday night in Atlanta. Butch Dill/Associated Press

ATLANTA — Trae Young scored 33 points and John Collins hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds remaining Wednesday night, rallying Atlanta to a 120-116 victory over the Washington Wizards to clinch the Hawks’ first playoff berth since 2017.

Atlanta came into the night tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and looking to solidify home-court advantage in the opening round.

That’s still up in the air, but the Hawks are definitely headed to the playoffs after going through a painful, massive rebuilding job that still appeared to be a work in progress when the team fired coach Lloyd Pierce shortly before the All-Star break while mired at 14-20.

Under interim coach Nate McMillan, who should receive strong consideration in the coach of the year balloting, the Hawks have posted a 25-11 mark to stamp themselves as a dangerous opponent heading into the postseason.

“We clinched, baby!” the public address announcer screamed after the horn sounded.

Russell Westbrook scored 34 points and dished out 15 assists, but it wasn’t enough to prevent another excruciating loss for the Wizards, whose last five defeats have been by a total of 10 points.


Two nights after breaking Oscar Roberson’s record with his 182nd career triple-double, Westbrook came up a bit short of No. 183. He was held to five rebounds.

NETS 128, SPURS 116: James Harden had 18 points and 11 assists in his return from an 18-game absence to help Brooklyn beat visiting San Antonio.

Coming off the bench in an NBA game for the first time since he won the league’s Sixth Man award for Oklahoma City in 2011-12, Harden also had seven rebounds after the longest layoff of his career, missing more than a month because of a strained right hamstring.


HEAT: Victor Oladipo’s season is over, and the two-time All-Star and former All-NBA selection may be looking at another long rehabilitation before he can return to the court.

The Miami Heat announced Oladipo has elected to have surgery on his right quadriceps tendon. There is no timetable for recovery, but such a surgery typically comes with a rehab time of several months – meaning his status for the start of next season, at minimum, seems uncertain at best.


The quad tendon is the same one he injured in 2019 as a member of the Indiana Pacers, an injury that sidelined him for a full calendar year.

Oladipo will have the surgery in New York on Thursday. He is a free agent this summer, after turning down a two-year, $45 million extension from Houston – the maximum his former team could have offered at that time – earlier this year, apparently with hopes of securing a longer-term and more lucrative deal this summer.

He was acquired by Miami on March 25 and played in only four games for the Heat after the trade-deadline deal with Houston. He averaged 12 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in those games, and finished the season averaging 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

PISTONS: The Detroit Pistons agreed to a contract extension with Coach Dwane Casey through the 2023-24 season.

Casey is wrapping up his third season with the rebuilding Pistons, who at 20-50 have the second-worst record in the NBA. Detroit is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but the Pistons do have some young players who have shown promise, such as rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart.

Detroit has completely overhauled its roster since the start of 2020, parting ways with Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and several other players who received significant playing time.

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