Mar. 28, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) reacts during the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 108-86. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Looking at the latest NBA Standings:
x- Bulls 41 11 .788 0.0
Heat 35 13 .729 4.0
Magic 32 19 .627 8.5
Pacers 29 20 .592 10.5
Hawks 30 22 .577 11.0
76ers 28 22 .560 12.0
Celtics 28 22 .560 12.0
Knicks 26 25 .510 14.5
Bucks 23 27 .460 17.0
With 14 games left in the regular season, there is still a bit of fluidity to the Hawks' post season travel plans. They are six games ahead of Milwaukee in terms of whether or not the team makes the playoffs. After seeing the Braves last season in baseball, let's not assume anything at this point, but every Bucks loss here on out makes the playoffs more of a reality for the Hawks, despite their back to back losses this week.
As it stands now, the Hawks are a six seed are very close to the five seed, given only a half game difference between Atlanta and the Indiana Pacers, and the Hawks hold the tiebreaker if it came to that.
But the Hawks may not be eager to get that fifth seed, given this season's struggles with the current fourth seed, the Philadelphia 76ers, The Sixers have handled the Hawks the two times the teams have played this season and have one more in Philly Saturday night.
Meanwhile the team the Hawks would have to play if the playoffs started tomorrow would be the Orlando Magic who, while they have played much better in recent days, have struggled mightily with Atlanta ever since the team dealt Hawk Hater Vince Carter away along with Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus, who always gave the Hawks fits. Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson and current company haven't been able to deal with the Hawks defensively since then and Larry Drew has figured out what Mike Woodson never did, defending Dwight straight up and closing out on the Magic's three point shooters limits Orlando's offensive effectiveness.
Exit Question: What is your best case scenario for the Hawks in terms of playoff seeding and matchups?