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If the Hawks beat the Pacers, would Atlanta be the worst team to win a playoff series?

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Nobody should be terribly surprised the Pacers are struggling in the playoffs. After all, the they faded the final two months of the season, going 12-13 in March and April.

But few predicted they’d lose in the first round.

That’s because their opponent – the Hawks – stinks.

As much as everyone fussed about Indiana’s late-season slump, Atlanta went the exact same 12-13 in the final two months. And before that, the Hawks (26-31) couldn’t even hold a candle to the Pacers (44-13).

When the Pacers were at their worst, the Hawks matched them. When the Pacers were at their best, the Hawks were worse than Indiana’s closing two months.

Add it all up, and Atlanta went 38-44.

Yet, the Hawks are up 2-1 in the series with a home Game 4 this afternoon. If they hold on, they’d be the worst team to win a playoff since series since the NBA expanded its postseason to 16 teams in 1984.

Collectively, teams that have gone 38-44 or worse were 13-64 (.169) in playoff games in the current format. That’s worse than the this season’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Only one losing team has won a playoff series since 1984 – the 1987 Seattle SuperSonics (39-43) – and they actually won two, topping the Dallas Mavericks (55-27) and Houston Rockets (42-40).

All time, the Hawks would be the 10th-worst team to win a playoff series

1. 1960: No. 3 Minneapolis Lakers (25-50) def. No. 2 Detroit Pistons (30-45)

2. 1976: No. 5 Detroit Pistons (36-46) def. No. 4 Milwaukee Bucks (38-44)

3. 1966: No. 3 St. Louis Hawks (36-44) def. No. 2 Baltimore Bullets (38-42)

4. 1961: No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers (36-43) def. No. 3 Detroit Pistons (34-45)

5. 1959: No. 2 Minneapolis Lakers (33-39) def. No. 1 St. Louis Hawks (49-23)

5. 1959: No. 2 Minneapolis Lakers (33-39) def. No. 3 Detroit Pistons (28-44)

5. 1958: No. 2 Detroit Pistons (33-39) def. No. 3 Cincinnati Royals (33-39)

8. 1965: No. 3 Baltimore Bullets (37-43) def. No. 2 St. Louis Hawks (45-35)

8. 1962: No. 3 Detroit Pistons (37-43) def. No. 2 Cincinnati Royals (43-37)

However, most of the teams on that list beat opponents that also had losing records. Heck, a few of those series weren’t even upsets.

The Hawks, on the other hand, are playing an Indiana team that went 56-26. Even if the Pacers are limping to the finish, that 18-win difference is stark.

If the Hawks win, it would be the fifth-biggest upset by win-percentage difference ever.

1. 2007: No. 8 Golden State Warriors (42-40) def. No. 1 Dallas Mavericks (67-15)

2. 1994: No. 8 Denver Nuggets (42-40) def. No. 1 Seattle SuperSonics (63-19)

3. 2012: No. 8 Philadelphia 76ers (35-31) def. No. 1 Chicago Bulls (50-16)

4. 1959: No. 2 Minneapolis Lakers (33-39) def. No. 1 St. Louis Hawks (49-23)

So, this would be a fairly historic upset if Atlanta pulls it off.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has 7th straight triple-double

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had his seventh consecutive triple-double Friday night in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Houston Rockets, the longest streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989.

Westbrook got his 10th rebound with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter. He already had 16 points and 10 assists. Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The Thunder won the first six games during his streak, however they fell to James Harden and the Rockets 102-99. Harden was one rebound short of his own triple-double.

It was Westbrook’s 12th triple-double of the season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA’s active leader in the category and ranks overall.

Jordan’s streak came during a run of 10 triple-doubles in 11 games.

NBA denies Raptors’ protest of loss to Kings

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26:  Jonas Valanciunas #17 and DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors high five after defeating the Detroit Pistons in an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on October 26, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has denied the Toronto Raptors’ protest of their 102-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 20.

The league announced the decision Friday.

Toronto argued that the game officials incorrectly called for an instant replay review of whether the Raptors’ Terrence Ross released a 3-point shot prior to the expiration of actual time remaining.

The Replay Center official reviewed video of the play using a digital timer and determined the actual time remaining in the game expired before Ross released his shot, and the shot therefore did not count.

The league found that calling for an instant replay review in this case was consistent with the playing rules because the game officials determined that there was a clock malfunction.

Cody Zeller throws it down all over Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)

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Nobody can stop the Zeller brothers!

Well, that’s not exactly true. But in this case, Bismack Biyombo tried and Cody Zeller threw it down with authority over him.

I’m not starting a “Cody Zeller for the dunk contest” campaign, but this was impressive.

Doc Rivers doesn’t think Clippers complain too much to referees

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 29: Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers has some words with referee Sean Wright #4 in the first quarter of Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on April 29, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Pop quiz: Which team complains the most to the referees in the NBA?

You probably answered “the Clippers.” Most fans do. So do most NBA referees — And everyone else. Which is why after a recent loss to Golden State, veteran Marreese Speight (a Warrior last season) pointed to the Clippers complaining about the officiating as part of the problem.

He went on to say that the scouting report is you can get in the Clippers’ heads by knocking them around a little. Which seems pretty obvious when you watch teams play them. Shockingly, Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagrees with that. Via NBCLosAngeles.com.

“The officiating thing, I don’t think, is our issue. I will say that,” said Rivers about the technical fouls. “If that were the problem, then, Golden State would be struggling. They’ve been No. 2 the last two years in techs, too. I think we need to point fingers in another direction than that.”

Doc may not like it, but Speights is right.

The Warriors do complain too much, but they also have a ring so more is forgiven. The problem for the Clippers is that reputation for complaining starts with Rivers — he complains as much or more than any coach in the league. Then it filters down through Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Is it fair that more is forgiven with winning? Moot question. Welcome to America. The Clippers complain a lot and have yet to get past the second round with this core. And at times there standing there complaining to the referees does get in the way of them getting back into defense, and they seem to go in a funk.

Want to prove all that wrong? Win. In the playoffs.