Taking a look at the Hawks playoff outlook with 30 games left to play

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The Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Unfortunately, they ran into an even hotter team last night in the Toronto Raptors, who toppled Atlanta for the second time this week thanks to a tremendous shooting performance from behind the arc. The loss drops the Hawks to 25-27 on the season, as they remain the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s far from where they expected to be at this point, but with 30 games remaining, there is still plenty of time to make up ground.

Right now, the Hawks would be in the play-in tournament, but they don’t have much room to breathe. The Wizards sit just a half-game behind Atlanta, and the Knicks are just a half-game behind them.

The Hornets, Celtics, and Raptors sit ahead of Atlanta in the play-in tournament, but the Hawks have a bit of work to do to catch up to those three. Atlanta is is 2.5 games behind Charlotte, 3 games behind Boston, and 3.5 games behind the Raptors.

Just ahead of Toronto is Brooklyn — losers of seven straight, the longest active losing streak in the NBA. The Nets are a full four games ahead of the Hawks in the standings. Realistically, that should be who the Hawks are eyeing as the season winds down. Getting in the playoffs would be nice, but a top-six seed should have this team feeling good about their chances of getting back to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond.

The top of the East is all separated by just two games. There will be a lot of jockeying for position as the season winds down. It’s unlikely the Hawks can catch up to them and make a run at one of the top-four seeds, ensuring them home court in the first round, but it’s not unfathomable. Atlanta is 6.5 games back of the fourth seed and 8 games back of the top spot in the East.



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