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NBA playoff picture: Hawks emerging as most likely first round opponent for Wizards

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

While it isn’t set in stone, it looks like the Washington Wizards will most likely face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs.

The Hawks currently hold a half-game lead over the Bucks, the only other team who can finish in fifth. However, Atlanta still has two games left to play, and hold the tiebreaker over Milwaukee thanks to winning the season series against them 2-1. All Atlanta needs to do to clinch the fifth seed and ensure a series against the Wizards (who are already locked into fourth) is either beat Charlotte (who has been eliminated from playoff contention) at home on Tuesday, or beat the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday.

If the Hawks wind up losing both games, Milwaukee still has to go on the road and beat Boston to move up to fifth. Keep in mind the Celtics need a win to ensure Cleveland can’t leapfrog them for the top spot on the final night of the regular season, so don’t expect Boston to roll out their B-team against the Bucks.

There’s still a lot to be decided over the final two days of the regular season, but barring an unlikely sequence of events, it looks like the Wizards will be able to get more favorable matchups in the first and second rounds of the playoffs.