(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks are running out of time in terms of sealing up a playoff spot. They will try to move closer Sunday against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Hawks are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, just one game ahead of the charging New York Knicks. The Knicks face a stiff challenge Sunday with a matinee affair in Miami.
Atlanta hopes the Southeast-rival Heat can give the team some breathing room, but first has to get past Indiana, which is only percentage points behind Miami for the East's top seed. So there's a conflict of interest there.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are 2-7 since winning five in a row and completed a three-game homestand (2-1) with Friday's 117-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mike Scott scored 26 points and Jeff Teague added 20 points and 12 assists for Atlanta, which shot 59 percent.
"Every game is a must win now. Going to every game it is a must win for us. We have to play like it," said Teague.
Paul Millsap ended with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Lou Williams also scored 16 points in a winning effort. Millsap has posted three straight double-doubles and is averaging 22.0 points and 13.0 rebounds in that time.
The Hawks will try to stop a three-game road losing streak and are 11-27 away from Philips Arena this season. After visiting Indiana, the Hawks have Detroit, Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, Charlotte and Milwaukee on the slate.
Indiana hopes to reclaim its throne atop the East and get some help from the Knicks in the process. The Pacers have lost six of their last eight games, including Friday's 102-94 setback at Toronto.
Paul George and David West scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, while Roy Hibbert was the only other Pacer in double digits with 12 points. Lance Stephenson scored just six points for Indiana, which had a 94-92 lead in the fourth quarter until the Raptors ended the game on a 10-0 run.
"You gotta give credit to the Raptors," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "They played hard. They only had three starters and they stepped up. DeMar (DeRozan), Jonas (Valanciunas), (Terrence) Ross played out of their minds.
"It shows why they've been one of the best home teams in the NBA in the second half of the season."
The Pacers are back home where they have won five of the last six games and own the NBA's best record as the host at 34-5. They have outscored opponents by 11.4 points per game at home, and the franchise's best mark in Indy was 36-5 back in 1999-00.
Indiana is second in the NBA in opponents' scoring (92.0) and first in opponents' field goal percentage (41.8). It has held Atlanta under 100 points in three meetings this season and has a 2-1 mark in that time.
The Pacers have won three straight and five of six at home in this series.