Will the Atlanta Hawks finish above the Charlotte Hornets?

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are in a battle for position in the current play-in tournament. After a good few days where they have won two games and a number of teams above have faltered, the Hawks are finally looking good to move up the standings.

They took the ninth seed from the Charlotte Hornets with their win against the Indiana Pacers but need to consolidate it against the Portland Trail Blazers. As a side note, they may see Kris Dunn, their injured point guard from last season in the Blazers squad.

However, the Hawks have been chasing the Hornets for most of the season. Now the Hornets are the team at risk if the Washington Wizards get on a roll, meaning that the Hawks need to focus on staying above them. Let’s take a look and see if the Hawks can realistically acheive this.

Can the Atlanta Hawks stay above the Charlotte Hornets?

Now, what we must first take into account is that the Hornets were flying when they had their franchise player, Gordon Hayward in uniform. However, he is out indefinately with an ankle injury which means that he is not a factor and the Hornets are not the same team when he is not on the floor.

Looking at this from a mathematical standpoint, the Hornets have 14 games remaining compared to the Hawks 15. Breaking the Hornets numbers down, they have eight games at home and six games on the road. Of the 14 games remaining, it is the belief of this scribe that the Hornets will only win five of them.

These five games include one against each of the following, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards. They should take both of their games against the New York Knicks. They do have a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans but with their resurgence it is difficult to see the Hornets taking that one.

The rest of the losses will be against the Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and the Chicago Bulls. All of these teams are at or near the top of their respective conferences with the exception of the Hawks who have gotten healthy and are now extremely dangerous.

So with the Hornets currently holding a 33-35 record, their probable record will be 38-44 which means that in order to stay ahead of the Hornets, the Hawks need to win six more games. They should be able to do this easily so a realistic worse-case finish for the Hawks will be the ninth seed.

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This will put them in a one game play-in battle with the Hornets which the Hawks should win. However, we will continue to evaluate the rest of the play-in teams and the sixth seed, we will see how far the Hawks could possibly go.