Hawks on verge of clinching a top-six playoff spot

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Hawks have clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs. Now its just a matter of where they will finish and who they will play in the first round.

The Hawks, who were off Tuesday but host the Wizards Wednesday night, moved up to fourth in the East, after a Knicks loss, with three games to play. The top six teams are automatic qualifiers for the playoffs.

According to the NBA, the Hawks can clinch a top-six playoff spot with a win over the Wizards or a Celtics loss at the Cavaliers Wednesday. The Hawks could have clinched a top-six spot Tuesday with a Celtics loss and Knicks win. The Celtics loss to the Heat but the Knicks lost to the Lakers. The Knicks (38-31), Hawks (38-31), Heat (38-31) and Celtics (35-34) could finish with the same record. The Hawks own tiebreakers over Boston and Miami. New York owns the tiebreaker over the Hawks. There is still a chance that the Hawks, Knicks and Celtics finish in a three-way tie at 38-34 and in that scenario, the Hawks would finish seventh.

The Hawks, who beat Chicago May 1 to clinch a postseason berth, can avoid the play-in tournament with simply a win over the Wizards Wednesday. They will be in the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign, the last of a run of 10 straight seasons.

The first round of the playoffs begin May 22. The NBA Finals tip off July 8.

The 7-10 teams must play for the final two positions in the play-in tournament. The play-in games run from May 18-21.

Magic number to clinch a top-six spot: 1

Here are the Eastern Conference standings with the current top 10 teams in position to qualify for the postseason.

1. 76ers* 47-22, 3 games remaining

2. Nets* 45-24, 3

3. Bucks* 44-25, 3

4. Hawks** 38-31, 3

5. Heat* 38-31, 3

6. Knicks** 38-31, 3

7. Celtics** 35-34, 3

8. Hornets** 33-36, 3

9. Pacers** 33-36, 3

10. Wizards 32-37, 3


11. Bulls 29-40, 3

All other teams have been eliminated

* - Clinched top-six playoff spot

** - Clinched play-in spot

Hawks remaining games: vs. Wizards (Wednesday), vs. Magic (Thursday), vs. Rockets (Sunday)