Clearing Up the Playoff Picture – 4.10.12

Tuesday, April 10, 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.

Who Owns the Tie-Breakers?
With the Hawks, Magic and Pacers all within a game of each other, it is a fairly good bet that at least one playoff position will be decided by a tie-breaker. Here is a breakdown of who currently owns the two-way tie-breakers:
(NOTE: Boston, or whoever wins the Atlantic Division, will own the tie-breaker over any non-division winner)

  •  Hawks over Magic
    Atlanta has clinched the season series over Orlando by winning the first two contests.
  • Hawks over Pacers
    Atlanta won the season series with Indiana 2-1.
  • Magic over Pacers
    Orlando won the season series over Indiana 3-1.
If all three teams end up tied, things get a little more complicated:

More Than Two Teams Tied

(1) Better winning percentage in all games among the tied teams.
(2) Better winning percentage against teams in own conference.
(3) Better winning percentage against teams eligible for playoffs in own conference (including teams that finished the regular season tied for a playoff position).
(4) Better net result of total points scored less total points allowed against all opponents (“point differential”).

What happened last night:

  • Magic 119 – Pistons 79 (@ Orlando)
    The Magic avenged last week’s loss to the Pistons and pulled back even with the Hawks in the standings.
  • Pacers 103 – Raptors 98 (@ Indiana)
    The Pacers bounced back from their loss to the Celtics and maintained their spot as the third seed.
  • Thunder 109 – Bucks 89 (@ Milwaukee)
    The Bucks are now two games back in the loss column, behind Philly and New York for the final playoff spot in the East.
Here is what is on tap for tonight:
  • Magic @ Wizards – 7pm
    The Magic posted a convincing win over Detroit and will look to keep their positive momentum on the road.
  • Celtics @ Heat – 7:00 pm
    Miami will be highly motivated to avenge a bad loss to the Celtics earlier this month in Boston.
  • 76ers @ Nets – 7:30 pm
    The Sixers will look to right the ship against a struggling New Jersey team.
  • Knicks @ Bulls – 9:30 pm
    It seems like just yesterday that ‘Melo and the Knicks stunned the Bulls in overtime at the Garden (it was just two days ago)… but with this season’s quirky schedule the two teams lace them up again tonight in Chicago.

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 9 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.