So last week could have gone better, but somehow and someway the Hawks are still technically 3rd in the East. While trying to be optimistic, I think that the Hawks can take these past two games and use them to build on. Let's get to the rankings.
First up, John Schuhmann of NBA.com drops the Hawks to No. 7
It was a year ago Monday that Paul Millsap suffered a shoulder sprain that would affect him in the playoffs. And it was a year ago Thursday that Thabo Sefolosha had his leg broken in New York. The Hawks were the best team in the East at the time, but the dominoes had begun to fall. Even though they fell short against the conference's top two seeds last week, they might be in a better place, especially defensively, this year.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com also has the Hawks at No. 7
Atlanta has finished out strong, but there’s some cause for playoff skepticism: the Hawks are a combined 0–5 against the conference-leading Cavs and Raptors. They’ll go through both opponents in their final five games as they try and hang onto the three seed.
Matt Moore of CBSsports.com drops Atlanta to No. 9.
They went toe-to-toe with Cleveland in a loss Friday, but until they show they have a playoff gear they failed to show last year, there will be doubts about whether this team will make a serious run.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com drops the Hawks to No. 8 in his latest ranking.
Before you dare to proclaim that the Hawks are back to last season's 60-win best, for all the damage they've been doing defensively, bear in mind that Friday night's heartbreaking OT loss to LeBron James and the visiting Cavaliers dropped Atlanta to 2-11 this season against the six teams (Warriors, Spurs, Cavs, Raptors, Thunder and Clippers) sporting records of .600 or better.
Finally, Kurt Helin of NBCsports.com moves the Hawks to No. 6.
The Hawks had been playing well but last week lost to the top two teams in the East, Cleveland and Toronto. Makes you wonder how far they can go come the playoffs, and how far that defense can take them. Seeding will matter, and they are in the group clumped in the east from 3-6, key games for Atlanta this Thursday (Toronto) and Saturday (Boston).
As expected, the Hawks seem to have taken a fall. Though despite dropping two straight games, they are still in the top 10. Let's hope Atlanta can make up some ground and finish the rest of the season strong.