Clearing Up the Playoff Picture – 4.9.12

Monday, April 9, 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 a daily update on the standings, what games to watch, and where to find the best analysis about the Hawks’ position.

Game 1: #4 Celtics @ #5 Hawks
While Boston would secure the fourth seed by winning the Atlantic Division, the Hawks would get home court advantage in the first round. Here is the full explanation of this quirky rule:

The first four seeds in each conference will be given to the three division winners and the team with the next best regular season record, but these four teams will be seeded in order of their regular season records.  Home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs will be based solely on regular season record, not playoff seeding, thus a divisional winner that has a higher playoff seed than an opponent will not necessarily have home court advantage in the playoff series.

What happened last night:

  • Celtics 103 – 76ers 79 (@ Boston)
    The Celtics are powering through a very challenging stretch of their schedule, bouncing back from losses to the Bulls and Spurs with wins over the Pacers and Sixers. Meanwhile, Philly is now in danger of falling out of a playoff spot as they have just a one game cushion over Milwaukee.
  • Knicks 100 – Bulls 99 (OT) (@ New York)
    ‘Melo scored 43 points, including clutch 3-pointers at the end of regulation and overtime, to lift the Knicks to victory. The Knicks are now tied with Philly for the 7th seed, but are still just one game ahead of Milwaukee.
  • Heat 98 – Pistons 75 (@ Miami)
    Coupled with Chicago’s loss, Miami is now just two games back of the Bulls for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Here is what is on tap for tonight:
  • Pistons @ Magic – 7pm
    The Magic snapped their 6-game losing streak on Saturday, but there is still plenty of drama surrounding the team. Orlando lost to the Pistons in Detroit last week.
  • Raptors @ Pacers – 7:00 pm
    After a convincing win over OKC, the Pacers stumbled on Saturday at home against the Celtics. Another loss tonight will slide the Hawks into the third seed since Atlanta owns the tie-breaker with Indy.
  • Thunder @ Bucks – 8:00 pm
    Milwaukee has won four straight to climb back into the race for the final playoff spot, but they face a tough challenge tonight against Oklahoma City.

With so many possible outcomes still available to the Hawks, it is always good to have some serious number crunchers on hand. Here on the Hawks Blog we have always relied on for our in-depth analysis of playoff odds, etc. Here is a breakdown of where the Hawks could finish based on their record in the remaining 12 games:


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, the fourth best record in the East. CLICK HERE for his complete breakdown.