The NBA season is a long 82 game race. Some team's seasons have been wrecked due to injuries and lack of talent, but some have flew right to the top due to how good they are. There are some teams like the Atlanta Hawks that will have to fight to the very end to secure a top spot in the NBA Playoffs. With only a few games left to go, there is still a lot at stake for several teams in the Eastern Conference. There are races that are gonna come to the end with only nine days to the Playoffs.
The schedule makers are either fortune tellers and being plain mean to the Hawks or they just hoped that all the teams the Hawk have on there schedule were gonna be good. In their final five games, the Hawks play three East Playoff teams. After hosting the Phoenix Suns on Monday, the Hawks host the two-seed Toronto again on Thursday to conclude the four game season series. The fourth-seed Boston Celtics come to town on Saturday night in a showdown that could vary the seedings. They go on the road to face the top-seed Cleveland Cavaliers in their next-to-last regular season game. These next few games can be the difference between the three-seed and the sixth-seed for the Hawks. Every game is a must win.
The Race for 3rd Place
There are four teams that still have a shot at the three-seed in the East. These next nine days are very crucial for the Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Celtics, and the Miami Heat. They are all half a game of each other. As of today, the Hawks are tied with the Celtics for the third seed following a Celtics win over the Lakers and a Hornets' loss to the Cavs. The Hornets and Heat trail Atlanta by half-a-game in the East and the Southeast division.
Of the four teams, the Celtics might be the hottest. They are coming off a win against the Warriors and the Lakers. Isaiah Thomas has had 16 straight 20+ point games. With five games remaining, Boston plays New Orleans and Milwaukee this week and closes the season with games against Atlanta, Charlotte, and Miami. Those three games for the four teams are crucial to what seed everybody gets. All four teams also play at least three playoff teams in the next nine days. The race is far from over in the Eastern Conference for the third through sixth seeds.
A Look at the Rest of the Eastern Conference
With the Celtics clinching a spot last night in the 2016 Playoffs, there are only two spots available left. The Pistons and Pacers will look to clinch in the next nine days, probably leaving the Chicago Bulls out of the Playoffs. Here's a look at the updated Eastern Conference Standings:
|1. y- Cleveland Cavaliers||55||22||.714||-|
|2. y-Toronto Raptors||51||25||.671||3.5|
|3. x-Atlanta Hawks||45||32||.584||10|
|4. x-Boston Celtics||45||32||.584||10|
|5. x-Miami Heat||44||32||.579||10.5|
|6. x-Charlotte Hornets||44||32||.579||10.5|
|7. Indiana Pacers||41||36||.532||14|
|8. Detroit Pistons||41||36||.532||14|
Y= Clinched Division X= Clinched Playoff Spot
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