Hawks closing in on clinching a top-six seed

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The Hawks were off this weekend following their loss on the second night of a back-to-back to the Pacers, but they received some help around them in the standings.

The Celtics were blown out by the Bulls on Friday night and then followed it up with another loss to the Heat on Sunday. Their most recent two-game losing streak puts them at 35-33 on the season — a full two games behind the Hawks in the standings, who also own the tiebreaker over the Celtics. Atlanta’s magic number to finish with a top-six seed is down to just two with four games remaining. With a win and a Boston loss, the Hawks will clinch the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference, at the very least. That’s obviously critical because the 7th-10th seeds in the Eastern Conference will be competing in the play-in tournament.

After falling to the Mavericks, the Heat took care of business this weekend, beating the Timberwolves and Celtics. They are now tied with the Hawks in the standings; however, Atlanta owns the tiebreaker, thanks to their head-to-head record with Miami this season.

The Knicks pulled off the stunner of the weekend yesterday. After losing back-to-back games to the Nuggets and Suns, they rebounded with an upset victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles. The win puts them a full game ahead of the Hawks for the 4th seed with four games remaining, and the Knicks own the tiebreaker.

It’s an incredibly tight race that will likely come down to the final day of the NBA season. Atlanta will need New York to crumble if they want home-court advantage in the first round, but as I mentioned last week, the Hawks do have the schedule working in their favor. Atlanta plays Washington tonight and on Wednesday, and the Wizards could be without Bradley Beal for both games (he’s already been ruled out for tonight). The Hawks then end their regular season with the Magic and Rockets — the two worst teams in the NBA.


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