Bulls well aware of their perilous position in standings

NEW YORK — It’s not something coach Billy Donovan has had to draw up on the dry board as a reminder.

With eight regular-season games left and the Hawks suddenly heating up right behind the Bulls in the standings, Donovan said Friday that his players know exactly what’s at stake.

After all, they finished in the 10th spot last season, had to go on the road for both play-in games and lost the second one in Miami.

No. 9 — where the Bulls sit — might not mean much in the big picture, but it at least gives them the first game at home.

“I think our guys are very much aware of that,” Donovan said. “We’ve talked about how important . . . the guys have even messaged it at maybe 12 games remaining. Guys were [made]aware of the importance of finishing strong, doing all those things. Obviously to be able to move up past that would be challenging. There’s a chance we can move below where we’re at, so the guys understand that. You get a home game, then obviously you would travel and have to go on the road, so our guys understand that.”

So do the Hawks, winners of four in a row, including two against the Celtics.

But the Bulls do have one major advantage over the Hawks: the schedule.

They have the ninth-easiest schedule left, while the Hawks have the 12th-hardest. They play each other one more time — the Bulls host the Hawks on Monday.

If it comes down to the last week, the Bulls play their last three games on the road in Detroit, Washington and New York against a Knicks team that might be in rest mode. The Hawks’ last three games are at home against the Hornets and on the road against the Timberwolves and Pacers.

Donovan wants to avoid a repeat of last season — having to play road warriors to get into the playoffs.

“It’s like you’re in the NCAA Tournament,” Donovan said. “It’s a one-game elimination unless you’re in the upper end of [the play-in]. There is a different element than you starting off a playoff series and you lose Game 1 on the road and you can regroup, make adjustments. You know it’s a seven-game series, and you need to win four. This is a totally different experience.”

Rookie blues

Forward Julian Phillips is starting to run out of runway if he hopes to come back from an injured right foot this season. He was still “in and out” of a walking boot, and no timetable has been provided for when he’ll be re-evaluated or what his return process would be.

Phillips last played against the Pacers more than two weeks ago. Even if he gets out of the boot in the next few weeks, he would need a ramp-up period to get his conditioning back.

Donovan didn’t have a lot of answers but also didn’t sound too optimistic.

“He hasn’t been on the court or done anything physical yet,’’ Donovan said, ‘‘so it’s hard to say whether he would be available, and when he is available, when that would even be until I can at least know that he’s on the court.”

Contract talk

Guard Javonte Green continues to provide valuable minutes off the bench, and it’s getting close to decision time for the front office on whether to give him another 10-day contract.

“I haven’t talked to [executive vice president] Arturas [Karnisovas] and [general manager] Marc [Eversley] about re-signing him,” Donovan said. “I would guess however those things work contractually, there’s no question we would look at that.”

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