We’re through the All Star break which means things will get serious in the NBA soon. In the Eastern Conference, there are a number of teams who could seriously go to the NBA Finals. Injuries have been at a high in the NBA, but expect to see most of the key players come back for this final stretch of the season.
Below we take a look at the Eastern Conference standings and who we think could head to the finals.
Eastern Conference Standings and Playoff Picture
1. Boston Celtics (42-17)
2. Milwaukee Bucks (41-17) 0.5 GB
3. Philadelphia 76ers (38-19) 3.0 GB
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-23) 5.0 GB
5. Brooklyn Nets (34-24) 7.5 GB
6. New York Knicks (33-27) 9.5 GB
7. Miami Heat (32-27) 10.0 GB
8. Atlanta Hawks (29-30) 13.0 GB
9. Washington Wizards (28-30) 13.5 GB
10. Toronto Raptors (28-31) 14.0 GB
11. Chicago Bulls (26-33) 16.0 GB
12. Indiana Pacers (26-34) 16.5 GB
13. Orlando Magic (24-35) 18.0 GB
14. Charlotte Hornets (17-43) 25.5 GB
15. Detroit Pistons (15-44) 27.0 GB
While it’s a generic answer, I think this a true battle between the No. 1 seeded Boston Celtics and No. 2 seeded Milwaukee Bucks. There is just not another team in the Eastern Conference as good as those two teams. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum are the faces of the confernence and everybody wants to see them in the NBA Finals. After the Nets traded away Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, they’ll likely fade over the final stretch.
The 76ers are the No. 3 seed, but I don’t expect them to make it far. They have underperformed in every year with Doc Rivers at the helm and I expect more of that this season. The No. 4 seed Cavaliers should not be counted out. They have an underrated starting lineup and I could see them pulling off an upset in the playoffs.
The only other team that has a shot in my opinion is the Heat, but they have had major struggles. They’re currently in the play-in game, but I expect them to get out of that spot by the end of the season. They have experience, but health is a big factor there. If they can get healthy in the second half of the season, they can go on a run.