Originally written May 18, 2012 on Fox Sports South:
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ATLANTA (AP) -- Larry Drew is returning for his third season as the Atlanta Hawks' coach despite the team's first-round exit from the playoffs. The Hawks announced Friday the team is exercising its option on Drew's contract for next season. General manager Rick Sund says Drew "did an outstanding job" dealing with injuries and the NBA's condensed schedule. Drew led the Hawks to a 40-26 regular-season record before the team lost to the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs. It was a step back for the franchise after three straight second-round appearances. Atlanta had the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference despite losing All-Star center Al Horford for all but 11 games of the regular season. Horford returned in Game 4 of the Celtics series.
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