Philadelphia, Utah and Atlanta can reach the second round. Dallas or the Los Angeles Clippers will get to the verge of it.
Yet as Russell Westbrook and Ja Morant try to save their seasons and Trae Young looks for a clinching victory, eyes will be on the action in the seats right along with the court.
The games Wednesday are the first for all three of those players in the arenas where they were the subjects of ugly fan actions in Game 2 of these first-round series.
The unruly fan behavior continued Monday when a spectator was tackled after running onto the court in Washington, and Young noticed.
“They doing it for attention now,” he wrote on Twitter.
Young was cursed at in both games and spit on in the second one at Madison Square Garden, the only game the Knicks won in the series. The Hawks went home and easily took Games 3 and 4 in Atlanta. Now they can silence the New York fans for the summer.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan said he feels safe as the team returns to New York, adding that the actions he has witnessed go beyond NBA buildings that are being filled again during the playoffs.
“We’ve seen this over the last few years. People just right now are out of control,” McMillan said. “We say, we do pretty much anything. It’s just a country right now just that’s out of control with the respect that we show one another. It’s something we’ve been going through really, I think, the last few years and you’re now starting to see it in the NBA arenas because we haven’t had fans in the last year.”