There has been a shakeup at the top of the Eastern Conference recently, and the battle for the No. 1 seed is truly on as we enter the final month of the regular season. There’s not much depth in this conference but the later rounds of the playoffs figure to offer tremendous matchups as three heavyweights look to make the NBA Finals.
Below we take a look at the Eastern Conference standings and playoff picture.
Eastern Conference Standings and Playoff Picture
1. Milwaukee Bucks (48-19)
2. Boston Celtics (47-21), 1.5 GB
3. Philadelphia 76ers (45-22), 3.0 GB
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (43-27), 6.5 GB
5. Brooklyn Nets (39-29), 9.5 GB
6. New York Knicks (40-30), 9.5 GB
7. Miami Heat (36-33), 13.0 GB
8. Atlanta Hawks (34-34), 14.5 GB
9. Toronto Raptors (32-36), 16.5 GB
10. Chicago Bulls (31-36), 17.0 GB
11. Indiana Pacers (31-37), 17.5 GB
12. Washington Wizards (31-37), 17.5 GB
13. Orlando Magic (28-40), 20.5 GB
14. Charlotte Hornets (22-48), 27.5 GB
15. Detroit Pistons (15-53), 33.5 GB
It feels like the Wizards have the most realistic chance at catching the Bulls or Raptors for that last play-in game, especially if Indiana begins to tank in earnest. The Heat likely don’t have enough time to make up the gap between them and the Knicks or Nets to avoid the play-in round.
The most intriguing part of this playoff picture is the top of the standings. The Bucks want the No. 1 seed and hope to have everyone healthy, while the Celtics have seen their position at the top fade over the last few weeks. Can Boston finish strong and reclaim the top spot? The 76ers are lurking in case both teams slip up.