Hawks vs. Bucks: Atlanta trying to catch up in race for 4th


The Hawks have fallen two games behind Brooklyn for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Atlanta Hawks are still within striking distance of fourth place in the Eastern Conference and a home playoff series in the first round. But trailing the Brooklyn Nets by two games, the margin for error is getting thinner.

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The Hawks (38-31) play against the Milwaukee Bucks (34-34) at 3 p.m. ET Sunday in Milwaukee, hoping to edge closer to the Nets, and they'll be playing against a team they've had good success against of late. Atlanta has beaten Milwaukee both times they've played this season, including a 98-90 win last week. Al Horford, Atlanta's leading scorer and rebounder, has been unstoppable in those two games, averaging 24.5 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game.

Horford has proven to be a dynamic combination with point guard Jeff Teague, who has also upped his production in two games against the Bucks. Teague is averaging 25 points and 10 assists per game against the Bucks this season.

Atlanta held the Bucks to 37 percent shooting in their win last week.

The Bucks are currently entrenched in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. With an eight-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, there is little danger in Milwaukee missing the playoffs. With the seventh place Boston Celtics struggling and losing four straight games, the Bucks trail Boston by only 1½ games for seventh place. Moving from eighth to seventh would allow the Bucks to potentially avoid the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and instead play the New York Knicks or Indiana Pacers.

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An open letter to NBA nerds at the start of March Madness

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