By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) - Once the sting wears off from squandering a chance to beat the top seed in the East, the Atlanta Hawks will likely savor this season as a successful first step toward their ultimate goal.
San Antonio East.
The Hawks' season ended in the opening round of the playoffs for the third year in a row, snuffed off by the Indiana Pacers in Game 7. Atlanta had a chance to clinch the series on its home court, but couldn't hold a lead in the closing minutes.
Now, it's time to take stock of what it all meant in the grand scheme.
The Hawks went 38-44, their worst record since 2008. But there were plenty of promising signs for a franchise that wants to build something similar to the San Antonio Spurs.
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