The Atlanta Hawks enter Sunday with a one-game lead over the New York Knicks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have tough matchups ahead of them on Sunday with the Hawks in Indiana and the Knicks in Miami for a nationally televised game against the Heat.
Atlanta moved back into eighth place on Friday thanks to a 117-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers combined with a 90-89 loss by the Knicks to the Wizards. That sequence of events increased Atlanta's playoff chances to 86.3 percent according to John Hollinger's Playoff Odds at ESPN.com. The Knicks are a game back in the standings but two back in the loss column and have a much more difficult schedule remaining.
Miami has won two of three over New York this season but could be without the services of Dwyane Wade on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony is battling through a shoulder injury but intends to be in the lineup against the Heat. Both teams have won six of their last 10 outings. Miami is 30-7 at home while the New York has a 16-22 road record.
Here is a look at the standings entering Sunday:
|8. Atlanta Hawks||33||42||.440||19.0|
|9. New York Knicks||33||44||.429||20.0|
|10. Cleveland Cavaliers||31||47||.397||22.5|
Back-to-back losses by the Cavaliers, first to the Hawks and then on Saturday to the Bobcats has all but taken Cleveland out of the running. The Hawks have a four games in five days stretch beginning on Tuesday at home against the Pistons. Here is a look at Atlanta's remaining schedule:
|Sun Apr 6||@ Indiana||6:00||NBA TV, SportSouth|
|Tue Apr 8||vs Detroit||7:30||SportSouth|
|Wed Apr 9||vs Boston||7:30||SportSouth|
|Fri Apr 11||@ Brooklyn||7:30||SportSouth|
|Sat Apr 12||vs Miami||7:30||SportSouth|
|Mon Apr 14||vs Charlotte||7:30||SportSouth|
|Wed Apr 16||@ Milwaukee||8:00||ESPN|