The Atlanta Hawks are currently sitting in the four-seed in the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 24-17. Atlanta is 17-8 within the Eastern Conference, which is an astounding record considering the playoff-worthy teams within their conference. The Hawks are now on a one-game winning streak, as they defeated the New York Knicks 108-107 at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Though they lost a heartbreaker to the Boston Celtics at home this past Friday, the Hawks are beginning to find their surge and compete for a higher playoff spot.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics standing in their way of a higher seed, the Hawks need to win these games against the conference’s top teams to have a chance at a better seed once the playoffs start in April. With Kyle Korver now gone, Atlanta is relying on Mike Dunleavy and Kris Humphries to get looks from beyond the arc, which is something that Korver did very well while with the Hawks. Fighting for a potential three-seed or four-seed in the playoffs is something that consistently occurs for the Hawks. Atlanta hasn’t been a top-tier team in the league for years, but if they can get the pieces to fit, this team can be dangerous. The top key for Atlanta is to play better defense and stop their opponents from hitting wide-open shots when it counts.
Analyzing the Hawks Playoff Seeding
For the Hawks to get a better playoff seed, a few things have to occur. First, they have to win their remaining games against the Celtics. The Celtics are 1-0 against Atlanta this season, with two meetings remaining. If the Hawks can contain Isaiah Thomas in the next two matchups and hold their own, then Atlanta will have a higher seed if Boston slumps late in the season.
Second, the Hawks have to take at least one game from their remaining series with the Cavs and Raptors. Both Cleveland and Toronto have been explosive offensively all season, and the Hawks really haven’t matched up well against them. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have electrified Atlanta defensively when the Hawks and Cavs have met up this season. As far as the Raptors go, Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll have solidified their place against Atlanta. Cleveland and Toronto are two very talented teams that Atlanta has not had much success against in the last few years. Also, trading Korver to the Cavs really hurt Atlanta in many ways.
Last, Atlanta has to maintain their ground within their division to have hopes for a higher seed. Currently, the Hawks have a 2.5 game lead on the Charlotte Hornets, with many games to play. Creeping up in the division are the Washington Wizards, and they are on fire right now. John Wall and Bradley Beal are lighting it up night in and night out for the Wizards, and they could give ATL a run for their money as far as the division is concerned.
The main key for the Hawks to lock up the division and a quality playoff seed is to win. That simple. Just win games and never look back. Get the starters to hit more shots and win the games that matter to help benefit a better playoff spot.