The Atlanta Hawks nabbed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Miami Heat Saturday night. Even though the Heat is currently in the second seed, their tie with the Indiana Pacers means there’s a good chance they will jump ahead. If that’s the case, Atlanta must continue their success against Miami if they finally want to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Clinching the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference doesn’t seem as big of a deal as it used to. Typically, the eighth seed gets swept in the first round of the playoffs by the dominant No. 1 seed. This is particularly the case in the East because the last team in is usually below .500. The Hawks have a 37-43 record while the Heat and Pacers each have a 54-26 record.
The good news for Atlanta is that they have taken two out of the four meetings against Miami this season, including two straight. They also have a series split against Indiana.
Obviously, the way the Pacers are playing they are definitely the team to face. The Hawks have enough talent to upset them, especially since the Pacers can’t seem to get the sinking ship to turn upright. The Heat is a completely different story. As usual, they are getting hot at exactly the right time, which is dangerous for any team regardless of what conference they appear in.
Right now, it doesn’t matter if Atlanta will face Miami or Indiana. All that matters is that they are in the postseason for the seventh consecutive year. The Hawks at least gave themselves a chance to work some magic and give their fans the playoff run that they deserve.