The 1956–57 NBA season was the franchise's 11th season in the NBA. Prior to the start of the season, the Hawks made one of the biggest draft day deals in NBA history. The Hawks sent 2nd overall pick Bill Russell to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and 2nd year star Ed Macauley. Macauley had been a popular player at St. Louis University. The Hawks struggled most of the season and coach Red Holzman was fired midway through the season. The new head coach was Slater Martin, who led the Hawks to a 5–3 record. Martin did not want the added responsibility of head coach, so Alex Hannum took over the rest of the season. Despite a 34–38 record, the Hawks would claim the Western Division by a tiebreaker and earned a bye into the Western Finals. In the Western Finals, the Hawks would sweep the Minneapolis Lakers in 3 straight games. The Hawks would meet the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Hawks would win Game 1 in double overtime 125–123 in Boston. The Celtics took Game 2 and the Hawks took Game 3 at home by 2 points. After losing Game 5 in Boston, the Hawks needed another victory at home to force a decisive 7th game. Game 7 in Boston would go into double overtime but the Celtics would emerge victorious winning by 2 points.