Atlanta Hawks: On playoff seeding

Judging by the persistent questions from Tweeps, it seems there is some confusion about what happens if the No. 5 seed in the East finishes with a better record than the No. 4 seed. This is possible because division winners can finish no worse than No. 4. This season the No. 5 seed could very well have a better record than the Atlantic winner. It’s why the Hawks remain behind the Celtics (and before that, the Sixers) in the standings even though they have the better record, which only adds to the confusion.

I’ve maintained all along that the Hawks would get home-court advantage if that’s the way they finish but the questions persist. So, to put it to rest once and for all, I e-mailed NBA spokesman Tim Frank. His reply:

“Better record always gets home court.”

There it is, plainly stated. The Hawks would get home-court advantage as the No. 5 seed if their record is better than a division winner with a worst record. As it stands now, that means the Hawks would play host to the Celtics in the first round even though the Celtics would have the better seed.

You might ask why reward a division winner the No. 4 seed if it doesn’t get home-court advantage anyway. In practice, it assures that a division winner will face an opponent with no better than the fourth-best record in the conference. Normally that’s not relevant but it can be in a season like this, the best Atlantic teams are bunched together
with so-so records.

Besides, as Josh Smith wryly noted the other day when the topic came up: “They get to hang up a banner.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

407 comments Add your comment

heat check

April 9th, 2012
11:57 am

Weird rule, but as long as we’d get home court…..

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:01 pm

New Day..What a beauty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

K.W.

April 9th, 2012
12:02 pm

Thanks for that MC, because I wondered about this.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:05 pm

Like I told your cousin last season another know it all Fal-con Fanatic, the scroll button or wheel does work wonders…

Use it Genius…

Ernest

April 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

Thanks for clearing this up, MC! At the end of the day, you’ve got to win 4 games, regardless of which court the 4 games you win are on. Having 4 games on the home court does not guarantee a win each time.

SJ

April 9th, 2012
12:09 pm

Confused? “In practice, it assures that a division winner will face an opponent with no better than the fourth-best record in the conference.” If the season ended today and Boston won the Atlantic and therefore got the 4th seed the Hawks would have a better record and the fourth-best record in the conference.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:10 pm

The Hawks need the Home court advantage in the worst way..

doc

April 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

hurt me again mc as i post, you shut it down and it is never to be retrieved again because if i try to copy and paste it is gone; just like what happens when the duplicate error arrives and a post doesnt.

oh well glad you clarified what only the slowest here havent been able to accept.

ok next nagging most likely question we already know the answer to: gee mc, when is horford going to be able to play? when are you ever going to give us another follow up on that pressing issue of my day? ;-)

doc

April 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

hurt me again mc as i post, you shut it down and it is never to be retrieved again because if i try to copy and paste it is gone; just like what happens when the duplicate error arrives and a post doesnt.

oh well glad you clarified what only the slowest here havent been able to accept.

ok next nagging most likely question we already know the answer to: gee mc, when is horford going to be able to play? when are you ever going to give us another follow up on that pressing issue of my day? ;-)

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

Hawks-Celtics (The Sequel) would be a hugely entertaining series and one that would surely include 2-3 technical fouls per game. My guess is that Zaza would also end up suspended for at least 2 games during the series while the Celtics barely get slapped on their wrists for their tactics.

van

April 9th, 2012
12:16 pm

Good, because i think we can beat Boston, but i dont want to play miami or chicago that soon.

Michael Cunningham

April 9th, 2012
12:20 pm

@SJ: Confused? “In practice, it assures that a division winner will face an opponent with no better than the fourth-best record in the conference.” If the season ended today and Boston won the Atlantic and therefore got the 4th seed the Hawks would have a better record and the fourth-best record in the conference.

right. that’s what i said, “no better than” the fourth-best record.

Michael Cunningham

April 9th, 2012
12:23 pm

@doc:”hurt me again mc as i post, you shut it down and it is never to be retrieved again because if i try to copy and paste it is gone; just like what happens when the duplicate error arrives and a post doesnt.”

sorry, dude.

“ok next nagging most likely question we already know the answer to: gee mc, when is horford going to be able to play? when are you ever going to give us another follow up on that pressing issue of my day?”

haha. thing is, i get more questions each time T-Mac doesn’t play than i do about Al’s status.

doc

April 9th, 2012
12:24 pm

rofl @ MC

tmac fan comes in many disguises

Rev in Tampa

April 9th, 2012
12:25 pm

MC,
Why didn’t T-Mac see the court in the Bobcats blowout?

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:27 pm

“Good, because i think we can beat Boston, but i dont want to play miami or chicago that soon.”

Agreed. You and I know that they would not a have shot to escape the 1st round against either one of those juggernauts…

46

Section 303

April 9th, 2012
12:35 pm

I didn’t know that the team with the better record would have home court. Thanks, Michael.

I want the Celtics. Would love to see the Hawks end that team. That series would be awesome.

Michael Cunningham

April 9th, 2012
12:37 pm

@Rev:

“MC,
Why didn’t T-Mac see the court in the Bobcats blowout?”

honestly, i didn’t ask LD after the game and they were off yesterday and today. my assumption is it was a back-to-back and they didn’t need him. Drew said T-Mac was available, though. it’s hard to know what’s going on there because T-Mac doesn’t talk much anymore, either to me or anyone else who might provide insight.

my educated guess is that it’s a kind of tug-o-war where LD wants to see T-Mac have better work habits but T-Mac, who isn’t a practice guy anyway, doesn’t want to do that until he gets a bigger role. and so back and forth they go. Drew has the upper hand in that dynamic now that Marvin is playing better and Pargo and Green are healthy at the same time.

darrell staks

April 9th, 2012
12:37 pm

Every body been screaming for the big lineup and me included.

STARTERS TEAGUE, JOE, JOSH, IVAN,ZAZA

BENCH PARGO, GREEN, TMAC, MARVIN, COLLINS

RESERVE HINRICH, VLAD, DAMPIER

IR HORFORD,

ASSIT. COACH STACK

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:38 pm

darrell staks

April 9th, 2012
12:40 pm

Big lineup and defense will be the key for the Hawks success.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ra'mon

April 9th, 2012
12:42 pm

The Boston series will be a hard series to call. Boston plays the best team interior defense in the league. And with the Hawks tendency to rely too much on jump shots sometimes, this could be a bad match up. The largest difference is, with Boston, Josh will end up playing some minutes at the 5 position. But I do believe that Kirk can stick with Ray, and Joe will eat up Paul in a series. I also believe, with the speed that Boston plays, T-Mac will end up playing a big role in that series. With Pargo, T-Mac, Willie Green, Marvin, Ivan, And Vlad, I think the Hawks have the deeper bench in the series, and they also have the better starting line up. It will be fun to watch Ivan and Bass battle for a series. Though, I probably would put Josh on Bass, and let Ivan “Debo” KG.

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2012
12:42 pm

my educated guess is that it’s a kind of tug-o-war where LD wants to see T-Mac have better work habits… You mean head coaches may use practice habits to determine playing time in real games? Wow, that’s a crazy idea. :twisted:

darrell staks

April 9th, 2012
12:44 pm

TMAC once consider the best player in the game have fell of the map.

How TMAC think he going play if not put in the hard work at practice.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lil Rob

April 9th, 2012
12:46 pm

“They get to hang up a banner.” – Josh

Shots fired at Turner Field????????? lmao

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:47 pm

“my educated guess is that it’s a kind of tug-o-war where LD wants to see T-Mac have better work habits but T-Mac, who isn’t a practice guy anyway, doesn’t want to do that until he gets a bigger role. and so back and forth they go. Drew has the upper hand in that dynamic now that Marvin is playing better and Pargo and Green are healthy at the same time.”

Interesting hypothesis MC!

We have suspected that T-Mac does not have much respect for Larry and Larry is holding a grudge against his smartest player on the squad. Hmmmmmmm

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Ra'mon

April 9th, 2012
12:50 pm

AJ, in most seasons that would be understandable. But T-Mac is a veteran in a crazy scheduled season. If T-Mac isn’t going all out in practice, I can’t really blame him. Stackhouse and Pargo have never had the injuries that T-Mac has came back from.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:50 pm

Wining the Rebounding War is a major part of Defense! Lose that one, then be prepared to be dismantled..

We are talking playoffs here……

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
12:54 pm

T-Mac knows how to play the game.. Let him save himself for the serious playoff war about to kickoff..This ole veteran will be ready to operate out there..He knows what he’s doing…

Rod from College Park

April 9th, 2012
12:57 pm

In case some of you have not been paying attention. Home court advantage means nothing for the Hawks. I think they have lost at home to most of the elite teams they have played. The only elite team I can remember them beating at home was OKC. Lost to Miami here, Chicago here, Memphis here. I remember us beating Indiana, Orlando, and Chicago back in February here, but the rest of the wins at home have been against weak teams.

Rev in Tampa

April 9th, 2012
12:58 pm

MC,

Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed answer. Actually, I was just being a smart-A. Not as a slight against you. Just being playful.

doc

April 9th, 2012
12:58 pm

slimj, tmac’s problem is himself; always was and always will be. he still thinks he is playing aau ball. it aint about ld, he was that talented but like many stars before him, he didnt learn to work or appreciate his gifts. he was relevant maybe in 2005 or so now not so much except in his head.

maybe he can join starbury and rand mo in china next year. me thinks his team mates may have blown him off a bit as well. maybe he is a one and done?

stro they are working to get close to the number you gave them at the start of the season in wins. never thought they could come close especially with al out. glad your favorite player growed up and blowed up at the right time, eh? heh heh he making you look the prophet bro.

doc

April 9th, 2012
1:01 pm

slimj you are the guy always talking about winners and everything. for my edification as an illiterate soul like myself, you care to tell me when exactly tmac has had his input to help win a big playoff series? did he ever get out of the first round with any team? didnt he end up on injured reserve list with a bad back due to lack of conditioning one year?

Rod from College Park

April 9th, 2012
1:01 pm

Hawks downfall in the playoffs will be a lack of scoring. Remember you heard it here first.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:06 pm

But Rod the Hawks savior All NBA maybe back to give them 9 points and 7 rebs per game… LMAO!

darrell staks

April 9th, 2012
1:10 pm

No 1man is bigger than the band, THE MOVIE DRUMLINE.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rod from College Park

April 9th, 2012
1:10 pm

“slimj you are the guy always talking about winners and everything. for my edification as an illiterate soul like myself, you care to tell me when exactly tmac has had his input to help win a big playoff series? did he ever get out of the first round with any team? didnt he end up on injured reserve list with a bad back due to lack of conditioning one year?”

Hate to jump in doc, but TMac not winning a playoff series had nothing to do with him. He actually upped his scoring average in the playoffs. The guy has a career playoff scoring average of 28.5ppg. Only so much you can do with the likes of Andrew DeClerq, Pat Garrity and Jaque Vaghn playing along side of you. In Houston, Yao could not stay healthy.

Rod from College Park

April 9th, 2012
1:11 pm

“But Rod the Hawks savior All NBA maybe back to give them 9 points and 7 rebs per game… LMAO!”

LOL.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:11 pm

Hey doc what do I know? I was a nobody yesterday and today a Knicks fan! LMAO!!!!!!

Biggie Smalls has a ego the size of Mount Everest!

steve brown

April 9th, 2012
1:18 pm

One of the Stews said on ESPN2 this morning he wished Woodson was still the Hawks coach. Idiotic comment since we have seen the growth of Josh, Teague, etc. and the team in general under Drew.

doc

April 9th, 2012
1:21 pm

rod, around here that is only making excuses. ;-) funny how folks play that card when it is favorable to their argument and forget it when it isnt.

guess even though he was on teams that were able to get in the playoffs he wasnt able to get them any further. tmac was also injury prone. anyway it is not tem years ago or even 7 when he was at the top of his game and not sure why folks dont see that. he goes about 5 mph slower than the rest of the team. now we might have to hear how bad our guys are if they dont get to the next level as losers and posters want to say how great tmac is?

slimj i though you were a mule yesterday or was it friday then on easter you resurrected as a knicks fan? shame on you bro!

anyway i dont think he has tht in him, not even close nor is he working to be part of this team, with the emphasis on work.

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:24 pm

“Hate to jump in doc, but TMac not winning a playoff series had nothing to do with him. He actually upped his scoring average in the playoffs. The guy has a career playoff scoring average of 28.5ppg. Only so much you can do with the likes of Andrew DeClerq, Pat Garrity and Jaque Vaghn playing along side of you. In Houston, Yao could not stay healthy.”

Thanks Rod! You are Da Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SteveW

April 9th, 2012
1:25 pm

Should the Hawks rest their starters the last 4 or 5 games, or push for Homecourt?

O'Brien

April 9th, 2012
1:27 pm

Ra’mon,

I think AJ is also taking a shot at some of us bloggers who think LD should have played Teague more last year (there were rumors about Jeff’s performance in practice).

As for T-Mac, he has always had bad practice habits. But in a season like this, its understandable. 3 days in a row sometimes, compressed schedule, injury history…And when he is healthy, T-Mac is our best facilitator on the 2nd unit. LD needs to play him.

As for Boston, I dont like our chances.

1) They will make offense tough for Josh and JJ
2) Doc Rivers will coach circles around LD
3) Paul Pierce will get every single call

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:29 pm

Larry is coaching for his job SteveW.. My bet is he’s not going to rest his starters…

O'Brien

April 9th, 2012
1:30 pm

He has always had bad practice habits, but so has Iverson (who almost single handedly led the Sixers to the NBA finals – with proper coaching).

For his playoff career, T-Mac averaged 28.5 pts, 6 assists, 7 rebs per game. How do you blame him for his team losing in the playoffs?

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:33 pm

TMAC’s playoff scoring average of 28.5ppg? Nice..Now that’s extremely impressive..

even doc would probably agree…

Slimjr

April 9th, 2012
1:38 pm

Hey doc, Rod and O’Brien “nimbers” say TMAC knows how to play the game…Especially playoff games. And to know he played out West and still maintained those lofty “nimbers”? Impressive indeed Sir..

My cap is off to TMAC!!!!!!!!!!! A true all around baller in every sense of the term…Wow……..

Dawg

April 9th, 2012
1:40 pm

Is Vlad healthy again?

TMACfan

April 9th, 2012
1:40 pm

I’ve watched all of TMAC’s playoff games. The last playoff game he played was with Houston where he had 40+ points and the team score overall was like 67 or something when the game was over. He scored 40+ points and the rest of his teammates scored a little over 20.

Just pathetic, the dude deserves a ring.