Hawks’ Magic Number At Three After Sunday
They came into the day ahead of the New York Knicks by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot, though that was a bit deceiving. The Knicks had two more losses, and the Hawks are guaranteed to win the tiebreaker (conference record), so it was really three games.
After New York’s loss to Miami and Atlanta’s win in Indiana, it’s technically four now.
Four, meaning that’s the number of games the Hawks would have to lose to have a chance at not making the playoffs, and that’s assuming the Knicks win their final four games, all against Eastern Conference playoff teams.
The Hawks finish with Detroit, Boston, Miami and Charlotte at home and trips to Brooklyn and Milwaukee. The Knicks close with Chicago and Toronto at home, and trips to Brooklyn and Toronto.
At this point, it looks likely that the Hawks, with a more favorable schedule to finish the season, are in position to make it for the seventh straight season. Playing .500 ball over the final six games is all it will take to clinch, although head coach Mike Budenholzer will obviously want better results than that. Throughout the home stretch he’s been saying that the primary focus is getting better and building winning habits, and that will continue to be the focus down the stretch. Do that, and Atlanta should be in.
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