The Hawks and Knicks are overwhelming favorites to be fifth and sixth [in the East] in some order. Other than New York, no team projects to finish within five games to either side of the Hawks.By Hollinger's methods, the Hawks were projected to win 46 games.
Yesterday, Hollinger wrote (Insider):
The Hawks could not be further off the radar right now, but it might be time for that perception to change. For instance, Orlando is a big story after having won nine straight games. But did you know that Orlando has gained only two games on the Hawks during its current streak?What a difference wins over Sacramento, Utah, and Indiana can make. I can see winning those three games adding a win or two to Atlanta's projected total, but six wins? A further example of the current volatility of Hollinger's Playoff Odds? The Hawks are, this morning (as opposed to yesterday morning) projected to win 51 games despite just 12 of the league's 30 teams (and just 6 of 15 Eastern Conference teams) playing last night.
Atlanta held down the fort without Joe Johnson, going 5-4 while he missed nine games with an elbow problem; when he returned, the Hawks won three of four even with Jamal Crawford out.
As a result, the Hawks are on the upswing -- winners of eight of 10, including a 23-point beatdown of the Jazz in Utah last week -- and up to fifth in the Power Rankings. No, not fifth in the East -- fifth in the entire league. Atlanta projects to win 52 games according to today's Playoff Odds and is a serious threat to grab a top-four seed in the East.