Atlanta Hawks Potential First Round Playoff Match Ups

NBA: Bucks vs Hawks MAR 22
Source Yardbarker.com

Currently the Hawks are tied with the Boston Celtics for third in the Eastern Conference with a 49-29 record. Because of the divisional tie breaker the Celtics will be awarded the third spot if the season ends in a tie with the Hawks. So I wanted to take a closer look at the potential first round opponents that the Hawks might face.

5th seed Milwaukee Bucks – 44-34

The Bucks currently sit in 5th place and hold the tie breaker over the Miami Heat. A lot of people like myself figured the Bucks to plummet in the standings after Andrew Bogut suffered a season ending injury on April 3rd but have in fact won their last three games. They are a scrappy defensive bunch that more than emulates their Coach Scott Skiles fiery personality. They do have a tough schedule remaining but I am not going to write them off completely. That said of the two other teams that I am going to highlight I would rather play the Bucks. Especially with Bogut not available. The Bucks remaining schedule looks like this:

April 9th @ Philadelphia

April 10th Boston

April 12th Atlanta

April 14th @ Boston

So two matchups with the Celtics and one with the Hawks isn’t exactly an easy schedule with both of those teams still vying for better positioning in the playoffs. With that schedule I don’t see any way that they are going to be able to hold off the Heat.

6th seed Miami Heat – 44-34

The Miami Heat are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference having won their last 9 games in a row. While they haven’t exactly played the strongest teams during that winning streak they have in fact been able to take care of business which is more than I can say for the Hawks of late. The Hawks lost three of four meetings this season to the Heat and I really don’t want to match up with a team that has a superstar like Dwayne Wade. I would much rather them be matched up with the Celtics in the first round. Miami’s remaining schedule looks like this:

April 9th Detroit

April 11th @ New York

April 12th @ Philadelphia

April 14th New Jersey

That is a much easier schedule than what Milwaukee has to deal with. It wouldn’t be out of the question to assume that the Heat might win all four of their remaining games and go into the playoffs with a 13 game winning streak and the 5th seed in the playoffs.

7th seed Charlotte Bobcats – 42-36 2 games back of 5th

The Hawks split the season series with the Bobcats at 2 games apiece but I still do not want any part of this team in the first round of the playoffs. The Bobcats defend you for 94 feet and I really don’t want to be locked into a series with Larry Brown as the opposing coach. I know he will make adjustments if he needs to and I am not sure that the Hawks will. The Bobcats remaining schedule looks this way:

April 9th @ Houston

April 10th Detroit

April 12th @ New Jersey

April 14th Chicago

The Bobcats in all likelihood are stuck in the 7th spot unless the Bucks suddenly start playing like they lost their franchise Center to a season ending injury and the Bobcats win three of their last four games. The Bobcats would need the Bucks to lose out.

Summary

Ultimately I don’t see anyway that the Bucks can hold off the Heat for the 5th spot. The Heat are just playing too well right now and the Bucks remaining schedule is a lot harder. That said I do think the Bucks will win enough to keep a handle on the sixth spot. So I am predicting a finish of Miami, Milwaukee, and Charlotte.

So where does that leave the Hawks? Good question? Under my scenario they will need to finish in the third spot to get the match up that I want with a Bogutless Milwaukee team.  There is still a lot left to decide coming down the stretch and will be very important in however it ultimately plays out.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Charlotte Bobcats Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks

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  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    They definitely need to make sure they avoid Miami and Charlotte!

  • Ron E.

    Charlotte is a terrible road team while the Hawks are an elite home team. The Hawks shouldn’t have much trouble beating them in a 7 game series assuming Joe is mostly healthy by then. As for Miami, they’re essentially the same team the Hawks beat last year. No doubt they’re the most likely lower seed to be able to beat Atlanta, but the one extra home game the Hawks will have in the series should allow them to prevail.

  • Kris Willis

    Ron thanks for the comments, I agree the Hawks should prevail in any of the potential first round match ups. I don’t want to see Miami because of Dwayne Wade. You know how superstars can get calls in the post season and they basically won a championship off him getting to the free throw line.

    We haven’t exactly looked great all season when we played Miami either for whatever reason.

  • Fred

    I think whomever the Hawks play they will prevail but my biggest concern is why hasn’t this organization gone out of their way and got them a true center of can defend well and maybe score a little.

  • Kris Willis

    Watching tonight’s game against the Bucks makes me wonder how we let Jerry Stackhouse get away. I know he wouldn’t have seen as much playing time in Atlanta but he clearly wanted to play here. He would have just been added insurance.

    I do understand you suggestion that they are lacking a center. Horford is more than capable until he is matched up with the bigger centers like Howard and Shaq. Its no coincidence that those are potential second round match ups for the Hawks

  • http://Yardbarker.com Sam

    Horford is doing an admirable job, but he is not a center. He should be playing power forward,Josh Smith should be playing small forward and Marvin Williams should be comming off the bench. Jeff Teague should be playing the point and Joe Johnson should be thier shooting guard. Mike Bibby should be comming off the bench. Atlanta seriously should try and draft or Trade for a true center. This will make the team much more efficient and powerful.

  • Kris Willis

    I agree that that Horford would be an excellent power forward however I disagree whole heartedly that Josh Smith should be a small forward. He is not anywhere close at this point in his career. He needs to be near the basket and playing him at the small forward position would be putting him on the perimeter. The biggest reason for his good play this season is due to him all but scraping the three point shot. He also can’t handle the ball well enough to play on the perimeter in my opinion.

    The good news for Josh Smith though is his passing improved by leaps and bounds this season. I think his ball handling could also improve. His jump shot is still going to be a work in progress however.

    As far as Bibby goes I probably would have given him the nod as the starter for this season but I sure do wish Teague had gotten more playing time as a rookie. I was hoping we would know whether Teague could potentially handle the starting point guard job and sadly he hasn’t got enough time for us to make that decision. I think the Teague should start argument will be a lot easier made next season.

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