NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The banged-up Atlanta Hawks are still holding on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But — get this — general manager Danny Ferry says clinching the eighth seed isn’t exactly his team’s top priority.
“We’re not focused on trying to be the eighth seed in the playoffs because that’s not our goal,” Ferry told USA Today. “We’re trying to build something that’s good, sustainable and the components are in place for us to do so.”
The Hawks’ once-solid lead over the Knicks has been slowly dwindling due to major injuries to Al Horford, John Jenkins and Gustavo Ayon, who are all done for the year.
Meanwhile, New York has been on an 11-3 run since March 5.
“The injuries that compounded after Al the past two months certainly can’t be ignored when you look at the whole of the season,” Ferry said. “We don’t want to use them as excuses. It’s been a reality, and I like that our group has continued to compete. It’s part of the reason I like the substance of our group. It will allow us to be competitive going forward.”
The Hawks have gone 7-20 since Feb. 4. Their position in the draft would be improved if they miss the playoffs.
The Knicks, facing a less favorable schedule over the final two weeks of the season, are one game behind Atlanta (two in the loss column). Cleveland is also lurking at three games back.
“Candidly, I don’t pay the amount of attention to the standings that you would expect,” Ferry said Monday, according to the New York Times.
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