NBA Playoff Picture 2024: Updated Standings, Predictions After Hawks vs. Clippers

Julia StumbaughMarch 18, 2024

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Jalen Johnson #1 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks the ball during the game against the LA Clippers on March 17, 2024 at Crypto.Com Arena 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

It looks like the Los Angeles Clippers miss Russell Westbrook.

Dejounte Murray and the Atlanta Hawks extended an ongoing slump for the shorthanded Clippers with a 110-93 Sunday night victory.

Murray led the Hawks with 21 points in the win as the Clippers struggled despite the return of James Harden, who had missed two prior games with a left shoulder strain.

Here’s a look at the NBA playoff picture and predictions following the Hawks’ win.

Eastern Conference

  1. Boston Celtics, 53-14
  2. Milwaukee Bucks, 44-24 (9.5 GB)
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers, 42-25 (11 GB)
  4. New York Knicks, 40-27 (13 GB)
  5. Orlando Magic, 40-28 (13.5 GB)
  6. Indiana Pacers, 38-30 (15.5 GB)
  7. Miami Heat, 37-30 (16 GB)
  8. Philadelphia 76ers, 37-30 (16 GB)
  9. Chicago Bulls, 33-35 (20.5 GB)
  10. Atlanta Hawks, 29-38 (22.5 GB)

Western Conference

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder, 47-20
  2. Denver Nuggets, 47-21 (0.5 GB)
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves, 46-21 (1 GB)
  4. Los Angeles Clippers, 42-25 (5.5 GB)
  5. New Orleans Pelicans, 41-26 (6 GB)
  6. Sacramento Kings, 38-28 (8.5 GB)
  7. Dallas Mavericks, 39-29 (8.5 GB)
  8. Phoenix Suns, 39-29 (8.5 GB)
  9. Golden State Warriors, 35-31 (11.5 GB)
  10. Los Angeles Lakers, 36-32 (11.5 GB)


Clippers Exit Early

The Clippers have dropped four of their last five games, but it’s Sunday’s blowout causing the most concern.

Even as Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points in the first half, Harden was held to zero, the Clippers went into the break trailing by 17 points.

Farbod Esnaashari @Farbod_E

Kawhi Leonard has 17 points in the first quarter on 67% shooting.

He has 59% of the Clippers’ first quarter points. Unreal.

The loss displayed the Clippers’ depth problems now that backup guard Russell Westbrook is out with a fractured hand and Harden has been held below 15 points for four straight games.

If even 28 points from Leonard and 26 from Paul George can’t pull Los Angeles to a win over the shorthanded Hawks, this team will be in trouble come playoff time.

Hawks Hang Onto Play-In Spot

The Hawks won without Trae Young and snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday thanks to Murray, Bogdan Bogdanović, and the Clippers’ flaws.

Despite the Hawks’ uninspiring play lately, the victory showed this team still has a good shot at making the play-in round.

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

Shamrock Shook ☘️

Hawks by 20 😏

The Brooklyn Nets (4.5 games back from the Hawks with 15 games left to play) lost in overtime to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night, hurting their chances of catching Atlanta in the standings.

The Hawks could even conceivably be able to beat a No. 9 team like the Chicago Bulls in the play-in, although those prospects depend on if Young is able to return from undergoing surgery on his left hand.

Mavs Take Next Step

Kyrie Irving’s first season with the Dallas Mavericks ended with a fizzle last spring as the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2019.

This season looks headed for a different ending as the Mavs heat up down the stretch.

The Mavericks have won five of their last six games, including a 107-105 Sunday win over the Denver Nuggets thanks to a buzzer-beating shot from Irving.



SPECIAL. 🤯#TissotBuzzerBeater#YourTimeDefinesYourGreatness

This is the first time the Mavericks have beaten the defending champions this season, a sign of the team’s improvement since adding P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford at the trade deadline.

The Mavericks have only returned to conference finals once in 2022 since winning the title in 2011. With roster depth led by strong play from Irving and Luka Dončić, it’s time for another trip back.

Related Articles

Back to top button