As we get closer to the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks look to recover from injuries and fight for home court advantage in the first round. The Hawks had difficult two-game set against Philadelphia, but eventually broke the losing streak against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
This condensed season is coming close to an end but playoff standings are still in play. For now, let’s take a look at where Atlanta falls in this week’s power rankings roundup.
ESPN — No. 12
When the Hawks fired head coach Lloyd Pierce at the start of May, Atlanta was 11th in the Eastern Conference. Fast-forward two months and the turnaround under Nate McMillan has been so drastic that the Hawks could find themselves with home-court advantage in the first round. The Hawks, Celtics and Heat are all looking up at the Knicks for the No. 4 spot — and whoever finishes last among that bunch will be sent to the play-in tournament at No. 7.
CBS Sports — No. 11
The Hawks offense fell off a cliff in losing to the Pistons and then twice to the 76ers. They pulled out a win over the Bulls on Saturday, however, to get the ship headed back in the right direction. Trae Young returned for the final two games of the week after a four-game absence due to an ankle injury, putting up 32.5 points and 5.5 assists per game on 43 percent 3-point shooting.
NBA.com — No. 13
The Hawks had won their previous five games without Trae Young, but more injuries and absences took their toll when they hit the road last week. They were held under 90 points per 100 possessions for the second and third times this season, shooting 10-for-46 (22%) from 3-point range in Detroit and Philadelphia on Monday and Wednesday. Young returned for their second game in Philly (that they’re getting healthier is most important), but they were thumped for a second straight time (they trailed the two games by 46 and 27 points) by the Sixers. The Hawks finished 3-9 (losing all four season series) against the top four teams in the East, having allowed more than 120 points per 100 possessions over those 12 games.
All three losses to the fourth-place Knicks were within three points in the last five minutes and, having won their season series against both Boston (2-1) and Miami (2-1), the Hawks remain in control for the No. 5 seed. Six of their final seven games are at home, where they’ve won 13 of their last 15. Their two toughest remaining games are Monday and Wednesday, but they’ll have a rest advantage against both the Blazers and Suns.
That does it for this week. The Hawks took a small drip across the board due to the three-game losing streak. Hopefully Atlanta can move back up as they start to get healthier.