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NBA East playoff picture: Field largely set but seedings are up in the air

Here’s how the Eastern conference looks as the season winds down.

Philadelphia 76ers v Orlando Magic
Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tobias Harris and Georges Niang of the Philadelphia 76ers talk after defeating the Orlando Magic 116-114 in overtime at Amway Center on March 13, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

There are less than 15 games remaining in the 2021-22 NBA regular season and the East playoff picture remains largely the same as it did a week ago. The Miami Heat remain the top seed, but the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are close behind. The Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics are also within striking distance of the top seed, but likely fade down the stretch. Both the Bucks and Bulls are getting some key players back at the right time.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to hold onto the No. 6 seed, which is the last spot in the playoffs to avoid the play-in tournament. Both the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets have been on winning streaks lately, looking to capture that No. 6 spot.

Eastern Conference Playoff Picture

1. Miami Heat (45-24)
2. Philadelphia 76ers (41-25) 2.5 GB
3. Milwaukee Bucks (42-26) 2.5 GB
4. Chicago Bulls (41-26) 3.0 GB
5. Boston Celtics (41-28) 4.0 GB
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-29) 6.0 GB

Play-in tournament

7. Toronto Raptors (37-30) 7.0 GB
8. Brooklyn Nets (35-33) 9.5 GB
9. Atlanta Hawks (33-34) 11.0 GB
10. Charlotte Hornets (33-35) 11.5 GB

11. Washington Wizards (29-37) 14.5 GB
12. New York Knicks (28-40) 16.5 GB

Based on the current standings and the form of the teams, it looks like the East field is largely set. It’s hard to see the Wizards or Knicks catching Charlotte for the final play-in tournament spot. However, seedings are truly up in the air. Five teams are realistically in contention for the top seed, with three teams fighting for the crucial No. 6 seed.