With a come-from-behind win on Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks officially clinched a playoff berth for the first time since the 2016-17 season. As such, there was a hint of celebration following the victory over the Washington Wizards, but all parties involved also pointed to more work to come. On Thursday, the Hawks return to action against the Orlando Magic on the second night of a back-to-back, and Atlanta has plenty at stake.
The Hawks can clinch the Southeast Division title on Thursday with a win over Orlando and a loss by the Miami Heat against the Philadelphia 76ers. While the second part of that is out of Atlanta’s control, the Hawks can ensure a top-five seed by topping both the Magic and the Houston Rockets on Sunday, and avoiding a matchup against one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference is appetizing.
From there, Atlanta also aims to continue an impressive home winning streak. The Hawks haven’t lost at State Farm Arena in nearly a month, winning their last nine games in Atlanta. That streak includes a 112-96 win over the Orlando on Apr. 20, and the Magic are struggling considerably as this game arrives.
The visitors are battling all kinds of injury issues (see below), and the Magic are on a four-game losing skid. Orlando is just 4-17 in the last 21 games, and they have the NBA’s second-worst net rating at -8.8 points per 100 possessions this season.
Atlanta does have a busy injury report to contend with against Orlando, and that could leave the team short-handed. Trae Young (right hip soreness) is listed as probable and, by the nature of that distinction, he is likely — though not definite — to play.
Elsewhere, Bogdan Bogdanovic (left hamstring soreness), Clint Capela (right heel pain) and Danilo Gallinari (low back soreness) are all listed as questionable. Each provides the Hawks with a key role, so their statuses are worth monitoring throughout the day.
Tony Snell (right Achilles soreness) is out, and that is the same distinction that kept Snell sidelined on Monday. He did return on Wednesday after being listed as questionable. Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) also remains out.
The Magic will be without Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke, Otto Porter, James Ennis and Michael Carter-Williams, in addition to Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz. Mo Bamba (illness) is listed as questionable.
Atlanta is approximately a 13-point favorite as of Thursday afternoon. That could shift depending on the final injury determinations, but the Hawks are comfortably more talented than the Magic, even if one or two of their key pieces are unable to play.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, May 13, 7:30 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Bally Sports App