The Hawks come to Brooklyn

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the Nets will be the number five seed. Fresh off their scintillating win against the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening, the Nets lost to the Magic on the second night of their back-to-back.

Two (not three) is the magic number for the Atlanta Hawks. They are in the eighth position and hold a two game lead over the New York Knicks. If they win and the Knicks lose, the Hawks clinch a playoff spot ... and the Knicks' pick in the 2014 Draft goes to the Denver Nuggets.

The Nets have won both games against the Hawks this season. They won the first meeting in Brooklyn and the second in London.

There are a few games on the docket this evening that pertain to both teams. The Knicks will try to avoid being eliminated against Atlantic Division leading Toronto, the Pacers visit Miami and try to hang to their number one seed in the East, and the Pistons visit fourth seeded Chicago.

The season so far

What's up with these two? Let's find out:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Atlanta

Record

43-35 35-43

Pace

93.64 96.99

Offensive Efficiency

104.8 103.3

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 104.4

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.6 21.3

Turnover rate

15.2 15.8

Assist rate

16.8 18.9

Rebound rate

47 47.9

Free throw rate

31.2 26.6

Effective Field Goal percentage

51.6 51.5

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.7 51

With the number five seed all but assured to Brooklyn, Jason Kidd is gonna start resting players. Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston sat out the game in Orlando due to nagging injuries. Andray Blatche has been dealing with the flu and there hasn't been an update on his availability for this game.

Deron Williams has been struggling recently. He's only shot over 50 percent from the field once over the last eight games. He had been having a great second half until recently, but his struggles shooting haven't hurt Brooklyn. Joe Johnson has been shooting close to 50 percent from the field overall, over 40 percent from three point range and is averaging 17.4 points a night in the second half.

On the injury front, Pero Antic is dealing with a sore right ankle. He missed Wednesday's game and there hasn't been an update on his status as of this writing.

Jeff Teague has been having another quality season at the point for Atlanta. He's averaging about 17 points and seven assists a game in 32 minutes a night. The big improvement for Teague this season is that he's getting to the free throw line more than usual. He's averaging a career high 4.8 FTAs a night and is making 84.6 percent of them. He's also cut down on his three point attempts as compared to previous years.

Player to watch: Paul Millsap

Millsap has been having a good season with the Hawks. He's averaging about 18 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes a night. This is the first year where he's shot from three point range, and he's done a decent job of it. He's at a respectable 35.6 percent from deep on three attempts from downtown a night. That success from deep would have been even more helpful to the Hawks if Al Horford was still playing, but the All Star big man won't be returning this season.

Mirza Teletovic, Mason Plumlee and Kevin Garnett will work to derail Millsap. After missing a month, Garnett has looked pretty good in his two games back. Plumlee has been having a solid year and the same goes for Teletovic. Millsap has struggled in the games against the Nets and hopes to play better here. He won't have to deal with KG too much and has advantages over Plumlee & Teletovic.

From the Vault

Garnett, Pierce, and Johnson are working together to try and win the NBA Championship. It wasn't always that way


More reading: Peachtree Hoops

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