Charlotte Bobcats at Atlanta Hawks game preview

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The south's best two NBA teams in Georgia and North Carolina face off with some minor playoff implications for Charlotte, should they lose.

Gametime: 7:30 p.m. EST

Let's hear it for the Hawks. Their streaks, at times, have been less cheery than those on white underwear, but to their credit, Atlanta did not give up their playoff spot to the Knicks.

In February and March, they had three losing streaks: one that lasted seven games, and 2 that lasted six games. Between those latter two, they had a five-game winning streak to break up the tedium, I guess.

With the Knicks hot on their tail for the 8 seed, Atlanta reeled off an impressive 5-1 record that brings them today, currently on a three-game win streak. But during that six-game span, they beat Cleveland by 19, Indiana by 19, Boston by 8, Brooklyn by 5 and, most recently, Miami by 13.

In past years, Miami's been good enough to clinch homecourt advantage in time to rest their best players for the playoffs. But this year they need every win they can get to edge out Indiana for the top seed in the East. In fact, they brought back Dwyane Wade in his first game since March 26 to get all the help they could.

But Atlanta still held them off en route to clinching their own spot.

Jeff Teague's been phenomenal lately and with great games from him and Lou Williams off the bench, the Hawks topped Miami from behind the arc and at the free-throw line. Mike Scott's also particularly had a big impact on the Hawks' recent play as their first big off the bench, and a good scorer at that.

Atlanta's probably most dangerous as an outside shooting team. Gerald Henderson (and whoever else draws this matchup) might have his hands full with Kyle Korver, considering how much he runs off the ball off screens on strong or weak sides of the floor to find any bit of space he can for threes. Josh McRoberts will also face a tough matchup trying to defend Paul Millsap.

Whether Kemba Walker returns tonight will have a huge impact. Luke Ridnour's been adequate on offense, but has really had trouble on defense. Should Ridnour have the reins once again, he'll have a difficult time trying to stay in front of Teague.

A win here will keep Charlotte with a shot at the 6 seed. A loss could possibly close that door.

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