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.