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NBA Standings: Hawks would claim lottery pick with Pacers win or Nets loss

The race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference comes down to the final day of the regular season.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA regular season enters its final day and the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference still has not been determined. The Indiana Pacers enter play on Wednesday with a one-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets.

Indiana plays at Memphis on Wednesday while Brooklyn hosts Orlando. A win by the Pacers or a Nets loss will give Indiana the playoff spot. Brooklyn holds the tiebreaker and needs a win over the Magic combined with a Pacers' loss in Memphis to capture the playoff spot.

There is another element of intrigue surrounding the situation for the Atlanta Hawks who as the No. 1 seed will play either the Pacers or the Nets in the first round of the playoffs that begin this weekend. By virtue of the Joe Johnson trade, the Hawks can swap draft picks with the Nets this summer. So, if Brooklyn misses the playoffs then Atlanta will receive a lottery pick this summer.

It is interesting situation for Atlanta. While the Hawks have gone 7-0 this season against Brooklyn and Indiana, the Pacers are playing their best basketball of the season having won six straight games and are healthy with the return of Paul George to the lineup. The Pacers capturing the eighth seed would be an interesting first round rematch from last summer. The Nets at this point don't seem to be quite as formidable opponent but a lottery pick would be a valuable commodity to a team like Atlanta this summer.

Here is a look at the Eastern Conference standings as things enter the final day of the regular season:

1. Atlanta Hawks 60 21 .741 0.0
2. Cleveland Cavaliers 52 29 .642 8.0
3. Chicago Bulls 49 32 .605 11.0
4. Toronto Raptors 48 33 .593 12.0
5. Washington Wizards 46 35 .568 14.0
6. Milwaukee Bucks 41 40 .506 19.0
7. Boston Celtics 39 42 .481 21.0
8. Indiana Pacers 38 43 .469 22.0
Brooklyn Nets 37 44 .457 23.0
Miami Heat 36 45 .444 24.0
Charlotte Hornets 33 48 .407 27.0
Detroit Pistons 31 50 .383 29.0
Orlando Magic 25 56 .309 35.0
Philadelphia 76ers 18 63 .222 42.0
New York Knicks 17 64 .210 43.0