The Atlanta Hawks lead the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets by mere percentage points in a fierce battle for the No. 4 slot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks currently hold the fourth seed with a record of 33-25, but they have lost two in a row and will be in major danger of falling back to the sixth spot when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. The Bulls and Nets share identical 34-26 records, but Chicago would have the fifth seed if the playoffs started today due to the tiebreaker.
Thanks to their 14-game winning streak, the Miami Heat have opened up a 6½-game lead atop the East, so they should cruise to the No. 1 seed. But behind the Heat, the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks are locked in a serious fight for second. With the Pacers' victory over the Bulls and the Knicks' loss to the Heat on Sunday, Indiana moved one game ahead of New York in the standings.
At the tail end of the playoff picture, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have little to worry about in terms of losing their spots in the postseason with the Philadelphia 76ers 6½ games out. But the Celtics and Bucks both are on winning streaks and could possibly make a run upward if one or more of the Hawks/Bulls/Nets trio falters.
Here are the full East standings:
|New York Knicks||56||35-21||.625|
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