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Since our season has now come to an end, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on a memorable year, and let you know how much we appreciate your continued support.

Though it ended on a disappointing note with our loss to defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando in the Conference semifinals, I’m extremely proud of what the club has accomplished, both as individuals and as a team.

Once again, our record improved, as our young players continued to develop and mature. Our 53 regular season wins put us in the third position in the Eastern Conference, and we’re proud to say we beat every team in the NBA this season, except Oklahoma City.

For the second straight year, we were one of the final eight teams competing for an NBA championship and I feel confident that we’re positioned for a sustained run of success.

Individually, several of our players were deservedly recognized for their talent and contributions. Joe Johnson made his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance, while also earning third team All-NBA honors for the first time in his career. Third-year center Al Horford, one of the NBA’s best young big men, was named as an NBA All-Star for the first time. Josh Smith was the runner-up for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, and appeared on the league’s All-Defensive second team. Jamal Crawford, who led the league in scoring off the bench, won the league’s Sixth Man Award, a tremendous achievement after starting 145 games over the previous two years.

But the accomplishment I’m most proud of is our regular season performance at Philips Arena. You created an undeniable home court advantage, helping us reach an elite 34-7 record, tying for second-best in the NBA. As evidenced by those results and our third consecutive playoff berth, your enthusiasm, dedication, belief and support proved your designation as what I call our second “Sixth Man.”

As we look forward, I’m pleased to know our expectations have shifted from just two years ago, when we were simply hoping to reach the .500 mark, to thinking in terms of playing in Conference finals and beyond. We will continue to work diligently in the coming months to improve our team, and provide the best opportunity to make a deep playoff run, and ultimately have the chance to play for an NBA championship.

I honestly believe your support makes it possible for us to pursue these goals, and I look forward to moving into next season with each of you.

Rick Sund
Executive Vice President and General Manager, Atlanta Hawks