Scoreboard Watching: Hawks Clinch But Get No Help

Thursday, March 28, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Toronto Raptors

The Atlanta Hawks won and clinched a playoff spot last night.

But they made up exactly zero ground on the competitors.

The Eastern Conference flexed its muscle last night with the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics all earning wins to keep pace with the Hawks.standings

The most impressive win of the night no doubt belongs to the Bulls, who ended Miami’s 27-game winning streak with an inspired, short-handed effort. Playing without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and Rip Hamilton, Chicago got big production from Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng and some timely play-making from Nate Robinson to knock off the Heat 101-97.  This, unfortunately, is bad for the Hawks, as the Bulls retained their fifth spot in the East with the win.  They also clinched a playoff spot.

Jeff Green provided some heroics to save Boston from another miserable defeat. His driving layup as time expired gave the Celtics a 93-92 win in Cleveland to snap a four-game losing streak.  The Celtics played without Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett but mounted a late fourth quarter charge to get the win.

The Boston win looms larger because the Milwaukee Bucks fell in Philadelphia.  The Bucks have now lost four straight games and fell 2.5 behind Boston in the race to avoid playing Miami.

Tracking some teams ahead of the Hawks – the Nets improved to 4-1 on the eight-game road trip with a dominating 111-93 win in Portland.  What a time for Brooklyn to be playing its best basketball.  The Nets lead the Hawks by 2.5 games in the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Knicks and Pacers both picked up wins over Western Conference playoff teams last night.  The two are battling for the #2 seed in the East, and it appears they will fall in the 2 and 3 slots.

Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images

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