By: John Wickham
The Hawks have two games remaining in the regular season. They are currently the 5th seed and can either finish 5th or 6th depending on how they finish and then also the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is the 6th seed and is one game back of the Hawks with only two games remaining. They won the season series 2-1 over the Hawks so they hold the tie breaker if they finished tied. The Hawks games are home against Toronto and at New York. The Chicago Bulls are at Orlando and home against Washington.
The Hawks could potentially play either the Indiana Pacers or Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks tied the season series 2-2 with both teams. The Hawks have matchup advantages and disadvantages with both teams. Against either team they would be underdogs and rightfully so. To me the best matchup would probably be against the Nets. And not only for the Joe Johnson factor but I think the Hawks would have the advantage in the front court and would have an easier time against the Nets than they would against the Pacers who defend the 3 very well and have two big men in Roy Hibbert and David West that can neutralize Josh Smith and Al Horford.
Another thing to think about is the potential opponent in the 2nd round: Miami Heat or New York Knicks. This of course assuming neither team is upset. Miami swept the Hawks in the season series 4-0 while the Knicks have gone 2-0 with one game left. If the Hawks are the 5th seed and win against the Nets they will play the Heat. If they are the 6th seed and beat the Pacers they will play against the Knicks.
I think the Hawks if not for injuries would be able to go deeper but even if fully healthy they were not going to beat the Heat in a 7 game series. Unfortunately injuries do happen and we are getting a team that is down a couple of key players. I see them possibly getting out of the first round but more likely getting 2-3 wins before getting bounced out. I guess it allows us to get to transition to this offseason more and what GM Danny Ferry could be doing with all the cap space the Hawks will have this summer.