With the All-Star break and the trade deadline now over, its time for the Atlanta Hawks to forget trade rumors and luxury tax payments and instead focus on the on-court product for the remainder of the season. At 24-19 the Hawks currently sit in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings but are only four games behind the Orlando Magic for third place. Atlanta's lead over the Boston Celtics has shrunk to a mere half game entering play on Friday night.
With Dwight Howard staying put in Orlando that all but assures the Magic of remaining in the playoff chase and avoiding the free fall that was likely following any move involving the center. The Hawks are two games behind fifth place Indiana (three in the loss column) but hold the tie breaker over the Pacers in the season series. The Hawks are just one game behind the 76ers but Philly is guaranteed a spot in the top 4 by virtue of their lead in the Atlantic Division.
Health is the primary concern for the team going forward. With just 23 games remaining in the regular season, Atlanta can ill-afford to have a key player go down for another significant period of time. Against the Clippers on Wednesday, Atlanta was without Al Horford, Jason Collins, Willie Green, Ivan Johnson Marvin Williams and found out just prior to the game that Vladimir Radmanovic wouldn't play because of a sore back.
Horford is out through the remainder of the regular season but at this point getting any combination of Williams, Johnson and Green back would be a shot in the arm in regards to depth. Johnson is expected to rejoin the team for Friday's game against the Washington Wizards. Updates on Williams, Radmanovic and Green are likely to come closer to game time.
The Hawks will play 15 of its last 23 games at home where they are currently 12-6. Also 15 of those games are against teams that are currently at .500 or worse.
Here is a look at the remaining 2012 Atlanta Hawks Schedule:
|Washington||Fri 03/16||7:30 PM EDT|
|@ Cleveland||Sun 03/18||3:00 PM EDT|
|Boston||Mon 03/19||7:30 PM EDT|
|Cleveland||Wed 03/21||7:30 PM EDT|
|New Jersey||Fri 03/23||7:30 PM EDT|
|@ Washington||Sat 03/24||7:00 PM EDT|
|Utah||Sun 03/25||6:00 PM EDT|
|@ Milwaukee||Tue 03/27||8:00 PM EDT|
|Chicago||Wed 03/28||7:30 PM EDT|
|New York||Fri 03/30||7:30 PM EDT|
|@ Philadelphia||Sat 03/31||7:30 PM EDT|
|Charlotte||Wed 04/04||7:30 PM EDT|
|Detroit||Fri 04/06||7:30 PM EDT|
|@ Charlotte||Sat 04/07||7:00 PM EDT|
|@ Boston||Wed 04/11||8:00 PM EDT|
|@ Orlando||Fri 04/13||7:00 PM EDT|
|Toronto||Sun 04/15||6:00 PM EDT|
|@ Toronto||Mon 04/16||7:00 PM EDT|
|Detroit||Wed 04/18||7:30 PM EDT|
|Boston||Fri 04/20||7:00 PM EDT|
|New York||Sun 04/22||1:00 PM EDT|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Tue 04/24||7:30 PM EDT|
|Dallas||Thu 04/26||8:00 PM EDT|