Preview? About 93% Certain
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.
First Round Match-Up Almost Set
With the Pacers win last night (see results below) they clinched finishing ahead of the Celtics and are now dormie* against the Hawks. This means that Boston can do no better than the fourth best record in the East, and since they won the Atlantic Division (and are guaranteed a top-four seed) they will be the #4-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
So, with Boston at the four, the only way Atlanta will not be their first round opponent is if they move up to the third seed or if they fall to the six seed. The Hawks own the tie-breaker over Indy, so the only way they can move up is if they win out and the Pacers lose their last three games. The Hawks lead the Magic by a game for the sixth seed, and since Atlanta owns the tie-breaker there as well, they would need to drop a game behind Orlando to fall to the six spot.
It is cumbersome to explain with words, but our number-crunching friends over at SportsClubStats.com do a great job of breaking things down. Their latest data shows that the Hawks have almost a 93% chance of facing the Celtics in the first round. The bigger variable is who will have home court advantage, and tonight will go a long way in determining that outcome.
What happened last night:
- Pacers 118 – Bucks 109 (@ Indiana)
Indiana secured home court in the first round while Milwaukee’s playoff aspirations continue to fade.
- Celtics @ Hawks – 7:00 pm (ESPN)
- Knicks @ Cavs – 7:30 pm
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.
* – You Ryder Cup fans will recognize this golf term in match play that refers to when one player/team is ahead by the same number of holes that remain. This means that the other player/team can tie the match but cannot win.