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How the change in Cleveland benefits the Hawks

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After 45 games, the Atlanta Hawks remain alive in the Top 4 in the Eastern Conference and sit atop the Southeast Division.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The road to the NBA Playoffs is a long 82 game stretch with ups-and-downs. The Eastern Conference leader Cleveland Cavaliers hit a bump in the road to the playoffs last Friday when they fired Head Coach David Blatt. There are many questions surrounding the sudden coaching change in Cleveland. The main question Hawks fans are asking is, what does that mean for the Atlanta Hawks and the rest of the Eastern Conference?

Usually coaching changes in midseason happen to bad teams looking to the future. The coaching change in Cleveland provides hope to the rest of the conference especially to the Raptors, Bulls, and Hawks. The Toronto Raptors are only two games back from the Cavs in the standings with the Bulls and Hawks five and a half games back from first place. Unless the Cavs have a true meltdown, they are still gonna be a top team in the East. The coaching change does provide hope for the Hawks.

The Hawks look to capitalize

With ten games left till the All-Star break for the Hawks, seven out of the ten games are Eastern Conference opponents. Atlanta could be a real contender if they stay hot before the break. The Hawks look to end their West Coast visit with a win over a Denver Nuggets team that has struggled this season. The Hawks play the sixth place Indiana Pacers twice in the ten game span. The Hawks need at least one win over the Pacers to help their cause. Atlanta also faces an Orlando Magic team that has struggled as of late.

The Hawks sit atop of first place in the Southeast standings and increased their lead to two and a half games. The Miami Heat have lost four straight games and have dropped to eighth in the East. Washington is lurking at the ninth spot if the Heat continue to fall in the standings. The Hawks control their own destiny in the Southeast and look to repeat as Southeast champs.If the Hawks can stay can healthy and win the games they should, the home stretch after the All Star break could be an easy one for the Hawks.The Remaining schedule for the Hawks until the All-Star Break:

Jan. 25

at Denver

Jan. 27

Los Angeles Clippers

Jan. 28

at Indiana

Jan. 31

at Miami

Feb. 1

Dallas

Feb. 3

at Philadelphia

Feb. 5

Indiana

Feb. 7

at Orlando

Feb. 8

Orlando

Feb. 10

at Chicago

With less than a month from the NBA All-Star game, the Hawks could really make a push for the top spot.