Clearing Up the Playoff Picture – 4.12.12

Thursday, April 12, 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.

More Clarity and More Uncertainty.
Wednesday’s results created a little separation in a couple key areas. Milwaukee’s loss to New York put them two games out of the final playoff spot, and Indiana’s overtime win (coupled with the Hawks’ overtime loss) gave them a two-game cushion for the third seed.

Still, there is now a three-way tie for the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference. (Note: If the season ended with a three-way tie between Boston, Atlanta and Orlando, the Celtics would be to top seed from the group, followed by the Hawks, then the Magic.) Not exactly a situation where you can start to gameplan for a specific first-round opponent.

Wednesday’s action also gives great examples of how uncertain the idea of predicting the final results of these final games can be. One more basket by the Hawks and Cavs in regulation and 65 less seconds of game-time in Milwaukee and we would be describing completely different scenarios this morning.

What happened last night:

  • 76ers 93 – Raptors 75 (@ Toronto)
    Either Philly has snapped out of their funk or Toronto is not playing well at all right now. The Hawks are hoping the latter is true as they prepare for back-to-back nights of Raptors starting Sunday.
  • Pacers 104 – Cavaliers 98 OT (@ Cleveland)
    The Cavs led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter, but could not slam the door on Indiana.
  • Celtics 88 – Hawks 86 OT (@ Boston)
    Boston has won more games than anyone else since the all-star break.
  • Knicks 111 – Bucks 107 (@ Milwaukee)
    J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to put New York ahead for good.
Here is what is on tap for tonight:
  • Heat @ Bulls – 8:00 pm

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 8 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 fifth position in the East. CLICK HERE for his complete breakdown.