LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 14: Head coach Larry Drew of the Atlanta Hawks signals during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on March 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Hawks can nail down home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs tonight with a victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the regular season finale.
For the Atlanta Hawks it is simple. Win tonight against the Dallas Mavericks and they are guaranteed home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. A loss combined with a Boston win in Milwaukee will send the Hawks packing for four of the seven potential games against the Celtics.
The game is meaningful for Dallas as well as they try to move into the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Mavericks need a victory over the Hawks and a loss by the Denver Nuggets in Minnesota to have a chance. The sixth seed would mean a likely matchup with the Lakers in the first round instead of the two seed Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks haven't played since Saturday's 93-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls so they should be well rested heading into tonight's game.
Atlanta will be without two of its key players as both Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia will sit out the season finale. Horford has missed all but 11 games this season with a torn pectoral muscle but there was some talk that he might return for this game against Dallas. He has since declared himself out through the first-round of the playoffs and is hopeful he can contribute should the Hawks reach the second round.
Zaza Pachulia will miss his seventh straight game tonight with a foot injury. He is scheduled to have his foot re-examined over the weekend but his status for the playoffs remains uncertain.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, April 26
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 The Fan
Online Streaming: NBA League Pass Broadband
For more on this game Hawks fans should visit Peachtree Hoops and Mavericks fans should check out Mavs Moneyball. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA Basketball page.