Hawks vs. Pacers: Playoff positioning on the line

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers look take sole possession of second place in the East while Atlanta tries to move closer to home court advantage.

The Eastern Conference's top seed is all but locked up, as the Miami Heat have run away from the rest of the conference in the last two months. After that, it's complete chaos. Monday night's match up between the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers is a perfect example as the Pacers look to regain sole possession of the second seed while the Hawks continue to push for the fourth seed and home court advantage in the first round.

For more on this game, visit Peachtree Hoops and Indy Cornrows

The Pacers return home after a dreadful end to Saturday's game against the Chicago Bulls. Indiana scored just 17 points on 4/16 shooting in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Bulls. The loss put them in to a tie with the New York Knicks for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers had won three straight before the Bulls loss, averaging 103 points a game in those wins while holding their opponents to 79 points a game.

Hawks looking for some consistency

At 39-31, the Hawks find themselves right in the middle of the pack in the East. Atlanta is currently in fifth place, two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for fourth place and just a half game ahead of the Bulls. They're also coming off a stretch where they alternated wins and losses over the last four games. Before that, they had won three in a row, and lost three in a row before that.

Match up of the game

While Josh Smith, an unrestricted free agent this summer, has gotten the bulk of the buzz around the Hawks this season, Al Horford has been the team's best player and most consistent player once again. Horford is averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds on the season, while upping those numbers to 19 points and 11 rebounds during the month of March. His match up against Roy Hibbert could determine the game. In their three previous games, Horford's offense hasn't shown any signs of struggle against Hibbert, averaging 17 points on 66 percent shooting. Hibbert, on the other hand, has had problems with Atlanta, averaging just seven points and five rebounds in the teams' previous games.

Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports Midwest, SportSouth

Odds: Indiana opened as 7.5 point favorites.

More from SB Nation:

How the NBA can compete with NCAA's one-and-done stupidity

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

Derrick Rose: "I just know I'm close"

Andrew Sharp: LeBron is our MJ

The best NBA draft prospects of March Madness

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.