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With Philly In Rearview Mirror, Can Hawks Hold On To The Fifth Seed?

Just a few short weeks ago we were talking about the Hawks challenging for the third seed. Now it looks like they may have to battle just to hold onto the fifth spot. Lost in the fourth quarter collapse at Philly was that the team looked more like the Hawks we have come accustomed to for the first three quarters. Atlanta finds itself 2.5 games in front of Philadelphia with just ten to play. This weekend will provide Atlanta with the opportunity to snap out of their recent funk with games against New Jersey and Cleveland. 

Things won't get any easier as after a couple of off days, both Orlando and Boston visit Philips Arena. A quick road trip to Houston and then Atlanta returns home to take on San Antonio who may be without Tim Duncan who is out with an ankle injury. The Hawks three of their final four games  on the road at  Indiana and Washington before returning home to take on Miami and wrapping up the season in Charlotte. 

Indiana will no doubt have something to play for as they are fighting for the eighth seed with Milwaukee and Charlotte. There is the possibility that Miami could be locked in by that point and might be resting players. 

With all of the negativity of late, it is important to remember that the season isn't over just yet. While it is hard (really hard) to be optimistic this is an Orlando team that Atlanta has beaten two out of three times this season and doesn't hold the huge match up advantage over the Hawks that it did before the trade. Orlando has been both really good and really bad as they have constantly battled consistency issues of their own. 

Now I am not saying that the Hawks can win. At this point I am not even saying that they will compete, but I am saying that the season isn't over and Peachtree Hoops will be here anyway so we might as well see what happens.  

Hawks remaining schedule: 

New Jersey Sat 03/26 7:00 PM EDT
@ Cleveland Sun 03/27 6:00 PM EDT
Orlando Wed 03/30 7:00 PM EDT
Boston Fri 04/01 8:00 PM EDT
@ Houston Sun 04/03 7:00 PM EDT
San Antonio Tue 04/05 7:00 PM EDT
@ Indiana Fri 04/08 7:00 PM EDT
@ Washington Sat 04/09 7:00 PM EDT
Miami Mon 04/11 7:00 PM EDT
@ Charlotte Wed 04/13 8:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia has eleven games remaining with only four of those being on the road. Two of those road games are against Miami (tonight) and Chicago while the Sixers final road game is Boston. They likely won't be favored in any of those games but they have been very good at home. As Ken Sugiura points out, Philly would likely have to win eight out of their last eleven games with the Hawks going just 4-6 over that span to erase the 2.5 game lead.  Philly also plays Houston, New York, and Orlando at home so their schedule is no cakewalk either. 

Philadelphia's remaining schedule:

@ Miami Fri 03/25 7:30 PM EDT
Sacramento Sun 03/27 12:00 PM EDT
@ Chicago Mon 03/28 8:00 PM EDT
Houston Wed 03/30 7:00 PM EDT
New Jersey Fri 04/01 7:00 PM EDT
@ Milwaukee Sat 04/02 8:30 PM EDT
@ Boston Tue 04/05 7:30 PM EDT
New York Wed 04/06 7:00 PM EDT
Toronto Fri 04/08 7:00 PM EDT
Orlando Mon 04/11 7:00 PM EDT
Detroit Wed 04/13 8:00 PM EDT