Hawks need to defeat Cavaliers to keep In-Season Tournament run alive

CLEVELAND — The Hawks have one last chance to keep their run alive in the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Despite currently sitting in fourth place in group East A, the Hawks still have the opportunity to make it into the final wild-card spot among the eight teams in the quarterfinals. Their path to do so has its complications, but heading into their game against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night, their campaign remains far from over.

The Hawks and Cavaliers tip off in Cleveland at 7:30 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

To secure the wild-card spot, the Hawks not only have to defeat the Cavaliers, but they have to count on losses by several teams in the Eastern Conference.

In addition to a win over the Cavaliers, the Hawks would need the Knicks to lose to the Hornets, the Heat to lose to the Bucks, the Celtics to lose to the Bulls and the Nets to lose to the Raptors. The Hawks also would need to win their tiebreakers over the 76ers and the Cavaliers, as well as the tiebreakers over any second-place teams from the other East groups.

In simple terms, the Hawks need to score a lot of points, with points playing a big factor in tiebreaker situations. The Hawks currently have a minus-9 point differential in group East A after giving up 126 points to the 76ers in the second game and 157 points to the Pacers in the third game of the Tournament.

The Pacers have clinched their spot in the quarterfinals after going undefeated in the group stages.

The Bucks sit in second in group East B, but must defeat the Heat to avoid a tiebreaker scenario with them and the Knicks.

The Magic also made its case after going 3-1 in the tournament to pick up the best record in group East C. But the Celtics could force a tiebreaker situation should they beat the Bulls on Tuesday. It could come down to the point differential.

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