NBA playoff picture: Nets slip, Hawks rise in wild East jumble

Bruce Bennett

The Hawks beat the Nets on Sunday to move within one game of the fourth seed in the log jam known as the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Atlanta Hawks grabbed a key 105-93 road win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, taking sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference and moving just one game behind the Nets for fourth.

The Hawks and Nets are part of a blob in the middle of the East behind the Miami Heat, who are running away and hiding at the top. Just 3½ games separate the No. 2-7 seeds, with the Indiana Pacers currently holding the two and the Boston Celtics in the seventh spot. The New York Knicks have lost four in a row and sit one game behind the Pacers in third. The Chicago Bulls have an identical record with the Celtics, but hold the sixth seed due to the tiebreaker.

There's plenty of potential for change in the standings on Monday night, as the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks are the only East playoff team not in action.

Here are the full East standings:

Eastern Standings

Miami Heat 65 51-14 .785
Indiana Pacers 66 40-26 .606
New York Knicks 64 38-26 .594
Brooklyn Nets 66 38-28 .576
Atlanta Hawks 66 37-29 .561
Chicago Bulls 65 36-29 .554
Boston Celtics 65 36-29 .554
Milwaukee Bucks 65 33-32 .508
Toronto Raptors 67 26-41 .388
Philadelphia 76ers 65 25-40 .385
Washington Wizards 65 23-42 .354
Detroit Pistons 68 23-45 .338
Cleveland Cavaliers 66 22-44 .333
Orlando Magic 67 18-49 .269
Charlotte Bobcats 66 14-52 .212

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