- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is ready to move on.

Sure, his team blew a chance to grab the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

And, yes, the Hawks looked far from perfect in their regular-season finale.

So what? Now they have to prepare to host the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the postseason.

With a seemingly half-hearted showing against a bunch of backups, the Hawks lost, 109-98, to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night and wound up seeded No. 4 in the Eastern Conference.

While Budenholzer prepped for the playoffs, Wizards coach Randy Wittman has other things to ponder. Wittman was told after the game he would not return next season, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Atlanta finished 48-34 — the same record as the Miami Heat, who lost, 98-88, at Boston but owned the tiebreaker over the Hawks and so earned the No. 3 seed. Because of Miami’s loss, Atlanta would have moved up to No. 3 with a victory. Instead, the Hawks dropped their second game in a row.

“When you find out how that [Heat/Celtics] game went, I think it’s natural to [think that] you could be the three[-seed], but I don’t think it’s something to dwell on or spend much time on,” Budenholzer said. “I think it’s time to kind of get ready for this weekend.”

Atlanta did not hold a shootaround Wednesday morning, but otherwise did not take the day off completely, playing its usual lineup at the start of the game and for much of the fourth quarter.

Still, the Hawks made only 39.5 percent of their shots against Washington.

“I don’t think the focus and the execution was as good as we need it to be to win tonight,” Budenholzer said, “or to win in the [playoffs], so I think there’s something to be taken from tonight.”

Al Horford led the Hawks with 19 points, and Paul Millsap had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“It wasn’t our best game,” Millsap conceded.

Ramon Sessions, one of four reserves who started for Washington, scored 22 points.

The Wizards already were eliminated from playoff contention last week and four of their regular starters sat out Wednesday: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris.

The only starter who played for Washington was Otto Porter Jr., who wound up with five points. He exited in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury.

Washington finished 41-41, 10th in the Eastern Conference after a pair of trips to the second round of the playoffs.

After the game, Wittman offered a defense of the job he’s done.

“I love this job. I’m going to come to work until they tell me I can’t. I’m proud of what we’ve done here. I took over four and a half years ago, and this was a sideshow,” Wittman said. “And we slowly changed the culture of this team. And we had a slip-up this year.”

About an hour later, Wittman was overheard saying his goodbyes to a team employee.


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