With about 70 percent of the 2014 NBA season in the books, most teams are looking to solidify their playoff positioning. For teams in the Eastern Conference, this means trying to avoid the 7 and 8 seeds which lead to a date with either the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat. Not a enviable position for teams that may just squeak in into the playoffs with a losing record.
Currently, the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Bobcats hold the final two spots in the East, while the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards are trying to avoid them. But if the postseason started today, this is what the Eastern Conference playoff matchups would look like.
(1) Indiana Pacers (45-13) vs (8) Atlanta Hawks (26-31)
Atlanta has been in a nose dive going 1-9 in its last ten games, while Indiana has gone 7-3. The Pacers hold a 2-1 series lead in games played this year with one more matchup in Indiana on April 6 remaining. Both teams have a ten point win at home. Indiana also beat the Hawks by four in the other game in Atlanta.
(2) Miami Heat (42-14) vs (7) Charlotte Bobcats (27-31)
Miami has gone 9-1 in its last 10 games to close the gap for the No. 1 seed with the Pacers. Meanwhile, Charlotte has gone 6-4. The Heat lead the season series 3-0, winning both games in Charlotte to go along with a 1-point victory in Miami. The two teams will play for the final time tomorrow.
(3) Toronto Raptors (33-26) vs (6) Brooklyn Nets (28-29)
Toronto has the tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed over the Chicago Bulls because they are leading the Atlantic Division over the Nets by four games. This may change, but for now Toronto looks pretty locked in as they have gone 7-3 in their last ten and the Nets have gone 6-4. The Raptors also lead the season series 2-1 over the Nets, although two games have been decided by fewer than three points. The two teams play again on March 10.
(4) Chicago Bulls (33-26) vs (5) Washington Wizards (31-28)
With the three divisional winners getting the top seeds, the Bull can only go as high as No. 4 since catching the Pacers for the lead in the Central should be all but impossible. The Bulls have been playing well as of late, going 9-1 in their last 10. Washington has gone 7-3. The Wizards lead the season series 2-0, beating the Bulls in Chicago 102-88 and at home 96-93. The teams have one more game scheduled for April 5.