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NBA Standings: Hawks' Playoffs Certainty?

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With eight games to go in NBA Regular Season, the Atlanta Hawks are 44-30 and third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Not everything in the NBA Playoffs are certain and anything can happen. For the Hawks, the 2016 Playoffs are all but official for the Atlanta Hawks and a win tonight over the Chicago Bulls will make that a reality. The Hawks can will clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win tonight and a Washington loss on Tuesday against Golden State. Atlanta has got hot and stayed hot only losing two games in a ten game stretch. The Hawks are currently in sole possession of first place with a one-game lead over the Miami Heat in the Southeast Division.

Even with clinching a top spot, it doesn't mean they can exactly coast the rest of the season if they want to win the Southeast. The Heat are still fighting for the four spot with the Boston Celtics. The three through six spots are separated by half-a-game, which means the Hawks have to keep fighting. Unfortunately, the two spot is out of range for the Hawks at this moment. The Raptors hold a six-game-lead over the Hawks, but it is the push for the playoffs anything can happen.

This Week for the Hawks

The Hawks have a pretty rough week ahead and the standings can change negatively with the other playoff teams winning. The Hawks go on the road to face the Bulls and the Raptors, then come home to face the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers on an ESPN Friday night matchup. Chicago is two games out of the eighth hole and need a win. On a positive note, Toronto can not win their division with the Cavs clinching last week, so what do they have to lose though.  The Cavs could coast to the playoffs letting a close game go to the Hawks. Obviously, the best the Hawks could do would be continuing the win streak by going 3-0 or they could lose all three. Realistically, the Hawks take two of three by at least beating Chicago.

The Elimination Game

With another week in the season gone, the East has added more teams to the eliminated side. There are now five teams that have been eliminated from the Playoffs with the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks joining the list. In the West, only three have been eliminated so far with at least the Kings and Pelicans joining soon.

A Look at the Playoff Standings

Eastern Conference

Team W L PCT. GB
1. y- Cleveland Cavaliers 52 21 .712 -
2. x-Toronto Raptors 49 23 .681 2.5
3. Atlanta Hawks 44 30 .595 8.5
4. Boston Celtics 43 30 .589 9
5. Miami Heat 42 30 .583 9.5
6. Charlotte Hornets 42 31 .575 10
7. Indiana Pacers 39 34 .534 13
8. Detroit Pistons 39 35 .527 13.5
Chicago Bulls 36 36 .500 15.5
Washington Wizards 36 37 .493 16

y= clinched division, x= clinched playoff spot

Western Conference

Team W L PCT. GB
1. y-Golden State Warriors 66 7 .904 -
2. y-San Antonio Spurs 61 12 .836 5
3. y-Oklahoma City Thunder 51 22 .699 15
4. x- Los Angeles Clippers 45 27 .625 20.5
5. Memphis Grizzlies 41 32 .562 25
6. Portland Trail Blazers 38 36 .514 28.5
7. Utah Jazz 36 37 .493 30
8. Houston Rockets 36 38 .486 30.5
Dallas Mavericks 35 38 .479 31
Denver Nuggets 31 43 .419 35.5
Sacramento Kings 29 44 .397 37
New Orleans Pelicans 26 46 .361 39.5