Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: Win And They Are In (Again)

Well, it turns out the Hawks haven’t clinched a spot in the playoffs after all. Elias Sports Bureau called the league to tell them that the Hawks would lose a tiebreaker if they lost all of their remaining games and finished in four-way tie for the final playoffs spot. Well, OK, then. The Hawks will clinch tonight if they win or Chicago loses to Houston. Really.

Anyway, at the moment the playoffs bracket looks like this. Assuming the Celtics are going to win the Atlantic, which is a safe assumption, they would win a tiebreaker with the Hawks. From NBA.com:

TIEBREAKER BASIS:
(-) Tie breaker not needed (better overall winning percentage)
(1) Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division
(2) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
(3) Division won-lost percentage
(4) Conference won-lost percentage
(5) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, own conference
(6) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, other conference
(7) Net Points, all games

Suddenly John Salmons, not super rook Brandon Jennings, is the story for the Bucks.

Suddenly solid vet John Salmons, not super rook Brandon Jennings, is the story for the Bucks.

The Bucks loom as a potential playoff opponent. Normally the Hawks might not have too much concern about a team that hasn’t been anywhere near them in the standings and can’t match their talent. But these are not normal circumstances. The Bucks are just 38-30 but they are 14-3 since the All-Star break. More to the point, they are 14-2 since adding John Salmons in a trade.

You might remember how Salmons lit up the Hawks for 32 points during Milwaukee’s overtime loss at Philips Arena and did a respectable job checking J.J. until he got Iso-Joed at the end. What you may not remember is how Salmons joined the Bulls in a trade last season along with Brad Miller and helped catapult them to the playoffs. Now my man Charlie G at the Journal Sentinel notes Salmons is having a similar effect on the Bucks since the Bulls unloaded him to clear space for the summer free agent bonanza.

“When we were talking about making a move, we looked at him, and still do, as just a good, all-around pro guard,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “He can post up a little bit. He shoots the ball well enough. He can put it on the floor and get to the rim. He can dish it if necessary. He’s a solid defender. He’s a professional and has a real calm demeanor out there, and that has helped our guys.”

Since the Bucks and Hawks strangely didn’t meet for the first time until the late date of Feb. 28, the Hawks can measure themselves against the new-look Bucks and not the team that was sputtering along at 24-28 before Salmons arrived. Looking at the game-by-game efficiency numbers, the Bucks seem to be a better team offensively with Salmons –they’ve topped 100 points in offensive efficiency in 13 of 16 of games with him after doing so in just 31 of 68 previously. Their rugged defense also hasn’t appeared to skip a beat on defense–they’ve held 11 of 16 opponents below 100 points in defensive efficiency with Salmons after doing so in 21 of 68 games before his arrival.

It should be noted that the Salmons Bucks didn’t go a good job stopping the Hawks in their first meeting and have had similar problems with the better offensive teams. But the Bucks also have more offensive punch with Salmons. This is all along way of saying the Bucks would be a dangerous opponent for the Hawks to face in the playoffs.

That’s assuming the Hawks really, truly clinch a postseason berth at some point.

MC

371 comments Add your comment

gwite

March 22nd, 2010
5:01 pm

Thanks. Hope that settles all the tiebreaker questions for everyone.

gwite

March 22nd, 2010
5:03 pm

Did I miss out on something by not claiming “FIRST”?

Ree Roe

March 22nd, 2010
5:09 pm

I don’t understand how we could miss the playoffs if we lose out & CHI wins out considering we’d both be 45-37 and we took 3 out of 4 from CHI this season. Very odd…

-REEveal it to Roe!!!

Michael Cunningham

March 22nd, 2010
5:12 pm

@gwite: yes, you missed out on being lame

@ Ree Roe: i don’t understand, either. maybe it’s better if we don’t know.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

I think it’s pretty stupid that the Hawks can go 4-0 against the Celtics and finish behind them just because the Celtics won their division. I thought the whole purpose of changing the system from the division winners being the top 3 seeds to only guaranteeing a top-4 seed to a division winner was to counteract the idea of a weak division winner ranking higher than a stronger 2nd place team in a better division. The idea that winning your division trumps head-to-head record violates the spirit of that rule change.

northcyde

March 22nd, 2010
5:22 pm

LOL @ 4-way tie. In that scenario, I guess they would eliminate us first, seeing that both Miami and Charlotte have a better divisional record than we do. What we did vs the Bulls wouldn’t even matter.

So in other words . . . . unless a 10 inch snowstorm hits Jamaica, we’re in the playoffs.

Sports Hall of Fame

March 22nd, 2010
5:28 pm

Interested in Sports? Have a twitter? Follows @ASHOF

DHD

March 22nd, 2010
5:30 pm

The present bracket is our best shot even if we have to play Cleveland. You have to go through them anyway, most likely and this way, we can hope for a Boston win over Orlando.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
5:31 pm

Dunno about you guys…but I’d rather face the Bucks than TOR, CHA or MIA in the playoffs….

Hawk n the Ham

March 22nd, 2010
5:34 pm

They can’t worry about the technicalities of how the playoff seeds are structured. Just gotta worry about winning out the rest of the season. That’s my coach-speak for the year.

I hope Marvin drinks that Red Bull or takes that HGH or whatever it is he took last night, again tonight! It feels good to say:

MARVIN WAS BALLIN!!!!

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
5:38 pm

I’m not a big fan of all the “lets hope we can avoid Orlando” talk.

When it boils down to it…we’re probably going to bump heads with them and/or Cleveland…and we simply have to BEAT them. If we think we are serious contenders, we cant go into the series already thinking we’re gonna lose

If they show up like they did last night, they’ll be a tough out!!!

What I’m looking for tonight is:

1) Does Marvin fade back into the background????
2) Will Josh stop forcing things in the 4th????
3) Will the Hawks’ D regress back to the point where it seems like the opposing team is running lay-up drills with clear paths to the hoop???
4. Will Horford stay in attack mode???

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2010
5:38 pm

From easiest to toughest, I’d rank the Hawks’ potential opponents like this: 1. CHI, 2. TOR, 3. MIL, 4. MIA, 5. CHA.

Marvin's Shot is Strange

March 22nd, 2010
5:39 pm

There was a stretch during the season where I thought the Hawks could beat just about any team. However, i believe that some players are struggling with their shots and unless they can get hot again i don’t see them getting past the secong round. I hope i am wrong!Go Hawks!!!!!

Ben

March 22nd, 2010
5:43 pm

So are you saying we have NO chance at the 3 seed since Boston will win the tiebreaker by winning their division and we won’t? So were stuck with the 4 seed no matter what now right?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2010
5:44 pm

You can say what you want about regular season results. I don’t think there’s any way the current Hawks beat the Cavs in a 7 game series. The Cavs are bigger and just as athletic as the Hawks and have LeBron. Orlando is better than the Hawks too, but beating them is a matter of changing the mentality and strategic approach. In other words, it’s not likely but it can be done. Beating the Cavs ain’t gonna happen without a serious injury or a personnel change.

Eman

March 22nd, 2010
5:49 pm

The Hawks will lose in the second round again unless they play the Magic. I really feel that the hawks can beat the magic. I know they can not and will not beat the Cavs!!

Astro Joe

March 22nd, 2010
5:51 pm

Dang it, Jamal still hasn’t clinched a playoff berth.

Bucks have had a tremendous season and Skiles deserves serious COY consideration. But I have NO fear of them in a 7-game series. NONE.

ILL-logical

March 22nd, 2010
5:51 pm

Don’t expect a stellar performance from the Hawks tonight because of the emotional and physical toll of the Spurs contest. A back to back is tough enough as it is but after an overtime game whare your principals play 40 + minutes then have to get on a plane, it makes for some less than thrilling baketball.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2010
6:05 pm

“So were stuck with the 4 seed no matter what now right?”

Not if the Hawks finish with a better record than the Celtics. The Celtics beat the Hawks if both teams finish tied.

Ree Roe

March 22nd, 2010
6:05 pm

@ Ben, if the Hawks finish with a better record than BOS then we would finish seeded higher than them. If we finish with the same record as BOS, they will be seeded higher than us by virtue of them being a division winner.

Big game tonight…let’s see how fatigued we are especially with our transistional defense (which has been a struggle the past few months).

-REEap what you Roe!!!

Harpie

March 22nd, 2010
6:06 pm

The Hawks won’t win anything of significance as long as they have that lousy coach…..

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

On a totally non-basketball related note… what are the odds?

clarkekent

March 22nd, 2010
6:08 pm

najeh – we have woodson as a coach .. he changes nothing! to change means to adjust .. he make no adjustments … we get swept by ORL and lose in 6 to CLE.

bigeasy830

March 22nd, 2010
6:27 pm

I was at the game last night, first game of the season took the family and caught the best game of the season. The Hawks fought back from a 1st half deficit and won a close on in OT. I had great seats in section 120, We were close enough to where my wife noticed and commented on Time Duncan shoe size, and it upset me a little that she was staring at that multi-millionaire feet but oh well, (LOL). I tell you Jamal Crawford puts on a show. He makes moves that I thought could only be made in the video games. He was playing like one of those And 1 guys but Jamal have actual skills. We got us a great one in him. I hop e we don’t lose Joe in free agency, but if we do and Marvin can step up and play consistently well Jamal will be a 30 point a game scorer next year for us for sure if Joe decides to leave. But back to this season, hopefully ZaZa will step up in the play-offs as he have done the past couple of seasons and we can stay healthy, if that happens we all know the Hawks pick up their intensity come play-off time and when that happens we can beat anyone. We just need Marvin to stay aggressive. He played great last night driven to the basket and spotting up. But any way,

GOOOOO Hawks,

i_am_soulstar

March 22nd, 2010
6:39 pm

No way do you want Joe leaving and Jamal starting. The role of a starting 2 guard and a 6th man playing 2 guard are absolutely different. The 6th man is just expected to come in and score, score, score. Rebounds, assists, steals, defense, and scoring is the responsibility of the starter. Jamal’s awesome offensively and maybe even better than Joe as far as scoring goes, but Joe is just the better all-around player.

Plus, I’d really miss the heck out of his mid-range game in tight end-of-the-game situations.

i_am_soulstar

March 22nd, 2010
6:41 pm

And as great as Marvy Marv played last night, he’s just not the one to hang your season hopes on.. Unless you can get Kobe or D. Wade, Joe Johnson, like it or not, is irreplaceable..

jmarable

March 22nd, 2010
6:42 pm

Tonite is the nite the hawks need to B playoff minded, back 2 back test.Pass or Fail? playoff team we may meet.Pass or Fail. Lets see what the birds r made of. Everbody plays back to back. U see the spurs next few games? Betcha they handle the next few games because real good teams handle ther business.Dont think the hawks have grown up yet. they cant handle whats being asked of them. they will play lazy tonite watch. They dont want it enough, they can settle 4 just being good. cant u tell?

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
6:51 pm

Does anybody else agree with me that in the Pre Game the Hawks need to listen to some DMX so they can come out with some extreme intensity. Becuz I’m tellin u after listenung to a couple DMX songs u will be ready to bit someones head off.

bigdave

March 22nd, 2010
6:52 pm

MC..

what is the link that you sometimes post that has the exclusive game day shoes of players… Joe was featured on there before sporting the blue and white 12’s…

im trying to find the footwork Joe had on last night…

josh

March 22nd, 2010
7:03 pm

dangit, im gonna be in class when the game starts – hope i can catch the tail end.

Michael Cunningham

March 22nd, 2010
7:18 pm

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
7:36 pm

Does anybody else agree with me that in the Pre Game the Hawks need to listen to some DMX so they can come out with some extreme intensity. Becuz I’m tellin u after listening to a couple DMX songs u will be ready to bite someones head off.

gwite

March 22nd, 2010
7:52 pm

^^^
Guess not!

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
7:56 pm

VenomSpitter, being that they are based in ATL, they dont even have to go to DMX….they can find any random crunk song by any random ATL artist to get fired up….h3ll, they can listen to random stuff currently on the radio now like “All The Way Turn’t Up” or “Oh, Lets Do It” to get fired up…but personally I’d be on that Pastor Troy. :)

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:02 pm

Yea Pastor Troy should do it. They must be listening to some vanilla Ice the way they come out in some games lol

Blast

March 22nd, 2010
8:05 pm

Beating Spurs last night, first time in 5 years was SUPER SWEEEEEEEEET!!!

Another big game tonight! Player I’m most keen on checking out is Marvin Williams.

northcyde

March 22nd, 2010
8:06 pm

Back in my b-ball playing days, what used to do it for me, was Public Enemy.

******

“Fight the Power”

“Prophets of Rage”

“Brothas Gonna Work It Out”

“Welcome to the Terrordome”

“Rebel Without a Pause”

Those last 3 songs especially, used to do it for me. I’d be out on the court while playing, with those melodies in my head. Public Enemy is arguably the greatest rap group of all time, not only because of Chuck D’s anti-establishment lyrics, or Flavor Flav’s clowning . . but also because the sound production on their tracks were so hype.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

anything to amp them up would work, instead of Josh rubbing on Bibby. That clip is ALL OVER the net.

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

The Bomb Squad had some hard hitting beats.

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:10 pm

LOL @ Mac. Yea they need to get pumped up.

northcyde

March 22nd, 2010
8:11 pm

When you talk about road games, you usually need your star players to play great. The role players usually tend to play better at home ( ala Marvin ).

So tonight, we can’t afford an 8 – 23 FG night from JJ. He needs to be *ON* . . . and *ON* early. Same with Crawford.

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:11 pm

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:13 pm

I see Brandon Jennings got rid of that Bobby Brown throwback gumby haircut

VenomSpitter

March 22nd, 2010
8:17 pm

Aww sh*t I forgot we’re not on ESPN so we gotta hear Nique’s HEAT CHECK

Freshmaker

March 22nd, 2010
8:18 pm

Anyone have an internet link to watch the game by chance? My dish is messed up and I can’t get it to work. =/

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
8:20 pm

Brandon Jennings always come out lookin like he’s some character on a 90s sitcom…or late 80s-90s R&B group

He’s like a mix of Tevin Campbell and “Play” from “Kid-N-Play”

Bucks suck…whole team is weird..

Sleepy

March 22nd, 2010
8:21 pm

blowing layups ,too many jumpers ,crazy turnovers ahhh a typical hawks first quarter

Cannon

March 22nd, 2010
8:21 pm

Where is our offensive movement? It seems like all we’ve done so far it toss in to either Smoove, or big AL and they try to get penetration, but everyone else just sits there and watches.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
8:23 pm

I dont know why it’s so hard for them to stay active on O. Good things always happen when they are.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 22nd, 2010
8:24 pm

no rim on that shot