Showdown for Home Court Advantage?

Thursday, April 19, 2012
By Jon Newberry

With such a tight race involving so many teams, almost every night will feature at least one game with playoff implications. Here on the blog we will provide an almost daily update on the standings, what games to watch, and where to find the best analysis about the Hawks’ position.

Little Room for Error
The Hawks and Celtics both won last night (see full results below), meaning that Atlanta maintained its half game lead for the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference. Boston has one more loss than the Hawks, and the same amount of victories.

With Boston owning the tie-breaker over Atlanta (due to winning the Atlantic Division and/or winning the season series), Friday’s head-to-head match-up will go a long way to determine who owns home court advantage in the first round. With a win the Hawks will be two games ahead in the loss column with only three games to play. If Atlanta loses they will need to run the table in their final three games and hope Boston stumbles at home against either Miami or Milwaukee.

What happened last night:

  • Celtics 102 – Magic 98 (@ Boston)
    The Celtics held on against a Magic team that wouldn’t quit while playing without Dwight Howard. The win clinched the Atlantic Division crown for Boston. Orlando now has a tough pair of games out West against teams that are battling for playoff position of their own (Utah and Denver).
  • Hawks 116 – Pistons 84 (@ Atlanta)
    Atlanta moved a season-high 12 games over .500 with a 32-point thumping of Detroit. Everyone got involved as no starter played over 23 minutes.
  • Wizards 121 – Bucks 112 (@ Washington)
    A devastating loss for Milwaukee who is now 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot with just a handful of games remaining.
  • 76ers 103 – Cavs 87 (@ Cleveland)
    It wasn’t a “must win” game for Philly, but it might have felt like it in their locker room.
  • Knicks 104 – Nets 105 (@ New Jersey)
    New York fought off a pesky Nets team to keep hope alive that they can catch the Magic to climb up to the sixth seed.
Here is what is on tap for tonight:
  • Bucks @ Indiana – 7:00 pm
    Milwaukee has to be in desperation mode, while Indy wants to take one more step towards locking up the third seed in the East.

With just 9 days left until the playoffs tip-off, our number-crunching friends over at SportsClubStats.com have stepped up their game even more and are now giving us the probability of facing each opponent in the first round along with the seeding:

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ANALYSIS FROM SportsClubStats.com

Another resource that uses numbers way above most of our heads is ESPN’s John Hollinger. He is a frequent visitor to the Highlight Factory and breaks down nearly every facet of NBA basketball with statistics and probabilities. For his “Daily Playoff Odds” he runs the remaining schedule through the computer 5,000 times to churn out the most likely results. Right now he has the Hawks finishing 39-27, tied with Boston for the fourth best record in the East. CLICK HERE for his complete breakdown.

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