NBA

NBA standings, East playoff picture: Celtics close gap on top seed; Bulls into play-in; Nets jump Knicks

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On Saturday, there were two seeding changes in the Eastern Conference playoff picture: The Nets jumped the Knicks into the No. 5 seed, and the Bulls jumped the Wizards into the the final play-in spot. 

Below is a comprehensive snapshot of where things stand in the East entering play on Sunday, March 12. This post will update daily throughout the remainder of the regular season, or until all seeds are clinched. 

Reminder on how the play-in tournament works: No. 7 plays No. 8 and No. 9 plays No. 10. The winner of the 7-8 game gets the No. 7 seed, while the loser plays the winner of the 9-10 game for the  No. 8 seed. 

READ: Western Conference playoff picture

NOTE: Our SportsLine model, developed by predictive data engineer Stephen Oh, simulates the entire season 10,000 times to produce the most unbiased and precise projections imaginable.

The Bucks fell at Golden State on Saturday and now hold just a two-loss lead over No. 2 Boston with one head-to-head matchup remaining, which will also decide the tiebreaker. 

  • Projected seed:¬†1
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†TBD
  • Tiebreaker vs. Boston:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia:¬†Sixers lead 2-1 with one to play

2. Boston Celtics (47-21)

After Milwaukee’s loss to Golden State and their own victory over Atlanta on Saturday, Boston now trails the Bucks by two in the loss column with one head-to-head matchup remaining, which will decide the tiebreaker.¬†

  • Projected seed:¬†2
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†Winner of Heat/Hawks play-in
  • Tiebreaker vs. Milwaukee:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia:¬†Boston clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland: Cavs clinched

The Sixers trail the No. 2 Celtics by just one in the loss column, but Boston has clinched the tiebreaker, making that an effective two-game deficit.

  • Projected seed:¬†3
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. New York
  • Tiebreaker vs. Milwaukee:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia:¬†Boston clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland: Cavs lead 2-1 with one to play

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-27)

The Cavs hold a two-loss lead over the No. 5 Nets and a three-loss lead over the No. 6 Knicks with two head-to-head matchups left against each. 

  • Projected seed:¬†4
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Brooklyn
  • Tiebreaker vs. Boston:¬†Cavs clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Philadelphia:¬†Cavs lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. New York: Knicks lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Brooklyn:¬†Nets lead 1-0 with two to play

5. Brooklyn Nets (38-29)

Brooklyn jumps into the No. 5 seed by virtue of New York’s loss to the Clippers on Saturday.¬†

  • Projected seed:¬†6
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Cleveland
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland:¬†Nets lead 1-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. New York:¬†Knicks currently own via division win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami: Nets lead 2-0 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Atlanta:¬†Nets lead 2-1 with one to play

6. New York Knicks (39-30)

The Knicks fell behind Brooklyn with their loss to the Clippers on Saturday. In their quest to stay above the play-in line, the Knicks hold a three-game lead over the No. 7 Heat with two head-to-head matchups remaining. 

  • Projected seed:¬†5
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Philadelphia
  • Tiebreaker vs. Cleveland:¬†Knicks lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Brooklyn:¬†Knicks currently own via division win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami: Knicks lead 2-0 with two to play

PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT

7. Miami Heat (36-33)

Miami missed a chance to gain ground on the No. 6 Knicks, who lost to the Clippers, with a loss at Orlando on Saturday. Miami still trails a playoff spot by three. 

  • Projected seed:¬†7
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs.¬†Hawks¬†(play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New York: Knicks lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Brooklyn:¬†Nets lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Atlanta:¬†Miami clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Toronto:¬†Raptors¬†lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Washington:¬†Miami leads 2-1 with one to play

8. Atlanta Hawks (34-34)

After losing to Boston on Saturday, Atlanta remains an effective two games back of No. 7 Miami, which owns the tiebreaker. 

  • Projected seed:¬†8
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Miami (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Brooklyn:¬†Nets lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami:¬†Heat clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Toronto: Atlanta clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Washington:¬†Atlanta leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Chicago: Bulls lead 2-1 with one to play

9. Toronto Raptors (32-36)

Toronto lost to the Lakers on Friday to fall into a tie in the loss column with the No. 10 Bulls and the No. 11 Wizards. 

  • Projected seed:¬†10
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Bulls (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Miami:¬†Raptors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Atlanta: Hawks clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Washington:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana:¬†Pacers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Chicago:¬†Raptors clinched

10. Chicago Bulls (31-36)

The Bulls jumped into the play-in picture with a win over Houston on Saturday. Chicago currently owns the tiebreaker over Washington via conference win percentage. 

  • Projected seed:¬†Lottery
  • Current first-round matchup: at Raptors (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Toronto:¬†Raptors clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Washington:¬†Bulls currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana:¬†Pacers clinched

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

11. Washington Wizards (31-36)

The Wizards fell again to Atlanta on Friday and are now tied in the loss column with the No. 10 Bulls as they try to hang onto a play-in spot. 

  • Projected seed:¬†9
  • Tiebreaker vs. Toronto:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Indiana:¬†Pacers currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Chicago:¬†Bulls currently own via conference win percentage

12. Indiana Pacers (30-37)

The Pacers are one loss back of the 9-11 seeds. 

  • Projected seed:¬†Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. Toronto:¬†Pacers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Washington:¬†Pacers currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Chicago:¬†Pacers clinched

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Publish Date:2023-03-13 05:27:33

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