The Hawks and Celtics had a pretty good rivalry with each other in the 1980s, especially in the late 80s where they seemed to meet in the Eastern Conference Playoffs every year. The Celtics won every series including 83, but 85, 86 and 88 as well, but the Hawks played them very well even at the Boston Garden and even won some games there.
The Hawks probably should’ve won the 88 series and I believe had a better team. They were up 2-1 or 3-2 in that series, if not both leads in the series with the opportunity to close out that series at home. But lost both games.
The Hawks in the late 80s always looked like they were going to make a real run at the NBA Finals in the regular season, but always failed to even get to the Eastern Conference Finals.
A difference between a good team and a very good team: the good team has potential, the very good team consistently moves on in the playoffs. And at least plays for conference championships.