The Atlanta Hawks need to win Wednesday night to have a chance at the fifth seed when they visit the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Thanks to a home loss Tuesday night to the Toronto Raptors, the Hawks fell into a tie for fifth with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Hawks, so even if the Hawks beat the Knicks, the Bulls could take fifth with a win over the Washington Wizards in Chicago.
If the Hawks win and Bulls lose, Atlanta is No. 5 and will face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Whichever team is sixth will take on the Indiana Pacers.
The Hawks certainly didn't seem too concerned about the fifth seed on Tuesday. Head coach Larry Drew rested Al Horford and the other four starters - Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Josh Smith and Kyle Korver - all played less than 20 minutes.
"I'm going to err on the side of caution," Drew said after the game. "I think it's more important to have healthy bodies, regardless of who our opponent is."
Korver was the leading scorer with 13 points and extended his streak of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer to 73 straight.
The Knicks are locked into the second seed and will host the Boston Celtics, starting this weekend. Their last time out on Monday, the regulars rested and the Knicks fell to the Charlotte Bobcats, 106-95.
Carmelo Anthony has a slight lead over Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the race for the scoring title. Anthony sat out the Charlotte game and his availability for Wednesday is unknown.
It's expected that most of the Knicks regulars won't see much time Wednesday if any at all. Big men Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin are nursing injuries and both are expected to be ready come playoff time.
Rasheed Wallace played for the first time since December Monday against the Bobcats, but only logged four minutes. Head coach Mike Woodson said after the loss that Wallace asked to come out as he tweaked his bad foot.
"I'm not saying it's a setback," Woodson told the New York Post. "He was a little sore. He asked me to come out and I pulled him. We'll evaluate it a little more and see how he feels."
On Tuesday, the Knicks bolstered their roster when they signed free agent Quentin Richardson. He last played in the NBA during the 2011-12 season with the Orlando Magic.
The Knicks have won both meetings this season and Atlanta has dropped three straight on the road in this series.