As we close out the regular season, Atlanta jumps up two spots this week in Tom Ziller's SB Nation Power Rankings due to their victories over Orlando and Boston.
14. Atlanta Hawks (44-33, Prev: 16) -- The Hawks had a couple wins -- over the Magic and Celtics -- I wasn't sure was in them. That Orlando victory could mean something or nothing in the first round; can Jason Collins really treat Dwight Howard like that in a playoff series? I'm full of doubt, but intrigued nonetheless.
Many NBA writers have taken notice of the Hawks latest victory over Orlando and the fact that they are 3-1 against them this season. I think most will stop short of predicting an Atlanta upset in the first round but if nothing else they are now looking at that series as one that could surprise.
Atlanta checks in at No. 14 in Marc Stein's ESPN.com Power Rankings:
No one has frustrated DH12 this season like Jason Collins, as Professor Hollinger expertly explained, which has the Hawks convinced they can beat the team in Round 1 that humiliated them in Round 2 last season.
Stein has had the Hawks a little higher than everyone else the last few weeks so perhaps it is appropriate he leaves them at the No. 14 slot after defeating Orlando and Boston.
The Hawks hold steady at No. 15 in John Schuhmann's NBA.com rankings.
Pace: 91.6 (27), Off: 103.7 (20), Def: 104.1 (15)
The Hawks beat the Magic and Celtics last week, and their most important players in the two games were arguably their back-up centers. Zaza Pachulia went for 15 and 10 against Boston, while Jason Collins gave them a defensive edge against Orlando. They could have used that in Houston on Sunday.
Atlanta is ranked No. 17 in John Hollinger's stats based Daily Power Rankings at ESPN.com.