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NBA Standings 2017: Winning streak has Hawks headed back in right direction

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A two-game winning streak has improved Atlanta’s playoff odds substantially but where will they finish?

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

For a moment, it appeared that the Atlanta Hawks might fall completely out of the playoff picture. However, two-straight wins have them once again trending upward in the Eastern Conference standings.

Atlanta snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 95-91 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Philips Arena. They followed that up on Wednesday with a 97-92 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Kent Bazemore returned from a five-game absence in the win over the Sixers and Thabo Sefolosha is also on the trip and could return to the lineup soon. The future is still a bit cloudy for forward Paul Millsap who has been ruled out through at least Saturday’s game in Chicago.

Here is a look at the current picture in the Eastern Conference entering play on Thursday.

Eastern Conference Standings

Team W L Pct GB L10 Streak
Team W L Pct GB L10 Streak
*1. Boston 52 29 642 - 7-3 W2
*2. Cleveland 51 30 .630 1 4-6 L3
*3. Toronto 50 31 .617 1.5 8-2 W3
*4. Washington 49 32 .605 3 6-4 W1
*5. Atlanta 42 38 .525 9.5 5-5 W3
*6. Milwaukee 42 39 .519 10 6-4 W2
7. Indiana 41 40 .506 11 5-5 W4
8. Chicago 40 41 .494 12 7-3 W1
Miami 40 41 .494 12 5-5 W2
Detroit 37 44 .457 15 3-7 L1
Charlotte 36 45 .444 16 4-6 L4
New York 30 51 .370 22 3-7 L3
Orlando 28 53 .346 24 2-8 L2
Philadelphia 28 53 .346 24 2-8 L7
Brooklyn 20 61 .247 32 5-5 L1

The first thing that should jump out at you is that the Hawks are still holding down the fifth spot in the standings despite losing 13 of their past 20 games. They are currently tied with the Milwaukee Bucks but hold the tiebreaker due to their 3-1 advantage in the season series. Miami and Indiana are both two games back while Chicago is on the outside looking in 3.5 games behind.

Hawks remaining schedule

Date Opponent Time
Date Opponent Time
Saturday, April 1 at Bulls 5:00 PM
Sunday, April 2 at Nets 6:00 PM
Thursday, April 6 vs Celtics 8:00 PM
Friday, April 7 at Cavaliers 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 9 vs Cavaliers 3:30 PM
Tuesday, April 11 vs Hornets 7:30 PM
Wednesday, April 12 at Pacers 8:00 PM

Up next for the Hawks is road games at Chicago and Brooklyn. Atlanta then enters the final stretch with a home/road back-to-back against Boston and Cleveland. The Celtics and the Cavaliers are essentially in a dead heat at the top of the East Standings currently. Atlanta will then close it out with a home rematch against Cleveland and Charlotte before finishing things up in Indiana.

Bucks, Heat, Pacers, Bulls remaining schedules

Team Opponents
Team Opponents
Milwaukee vs DET, vs DAL, at OKC, at IND, at PHI, vs CHA, BOS
Miami vs NY, vs DEN, at CHA, at TOR, at WAS, vs CLE, vs WAS
Indiana at TOR, at CLE, vs TOR, vs MIL, at ORL, at PHI, vs ATL
Chicago vs CLE, vs ATL, at NO, at NY, at PHI, at BKN, vs ORL, vs BKN

Since the last time we looked at this, the Hawks situation has improved greatly. FiveThirtyEight now projects them to finish with a 42-40 record with a 95 percent chance of reaching the postseason. With Boston and Cleveland fighting it out over the top seed, they may not get the benefit of one of those team’s resting players down the stretch. It remains to be seen whether or not Atlanta can hold onto that fifth spot.