With a handful of remaining regular season games in the NBA season, the battle for first place in the East Coast conference might come down to the last contest. First place has been a back and forth swing all season with multiple organizations holding the top spot. Eight days before the season comes to a close, the final seedings still remain extremely uncertain.
How much fun is this for fans to watch! The close race always makes for an excitement that is unparalleled in sports. Fans get to see playoff atmosphere basketball long before the playoffs even start. It is almost like an extended playoff season for all, and who doesn’t like that?
Currently, the Miami Heat hold the first place crown with the Milwaukee Bucks on their tail, only a half game behind. The Boston Celtics are a game and a half out of first place while the Philadelphia 76ers trail the Heat by two and a half games. Be sure to look online for a great place to find a good over/under to find what the experts are picking.
Following key victories at Boston on Wednesday evening and vs. fifth-place Chicago on Saturday evening, Miami has three games to play. On Sunday, April 3rd, Miami travels to fourth-place Toronto for their third consecutive game on the road against top east coast squads. On April 5th, their schedule eases up as they return home to host Charlotte, and Atlanta on Friday, April 8th. The Heat face-off with the Magic in Orlando on April 10th to conclude their 2021-22 regular season campaign.
Coming off two hard-fought victories against the 76ers and Nets, the Bucks were bested by the Los Angeles Clippers, 153-119, on Friday evening in a matchup where both teams were resting their top players. Milwaukee’s tough schedule to conclude their season continues on Sunday, April 3rd, as they host Dallas, travel to Chicago on April 5th to face-off against the Bulls, go head-to-head in Milwaukee with third-placed Boston on April 7th, who they hold a half-game lead over. Wrapping up their 82-game campaign, Milwaukee is away vs. the Detroit Pistons on Friday, April 8th and Cleveland Cavaliers on April 10th.
Despite falling short to the Heat on Wednesday in a game that would’ve earned them a first-place position, the red-hot Celtics have the opportunity to capitalize on their lighter schedule in their push for the first place seed. Following a victory vs. Indiana, their three-game home stretch ends on Sunday, April 3rd when they play the Washington Wizards, with away matchups against the Bulls, Bucks, and Memphis Grizzlies on April 6th, 7th, and 10th. A victory against the Bucks could potentially earn them a second-place slot headed into the postseason if they fall short of capturing the regular season crown.
Two games behind the Heat, the 76ers stand a chance of sneaking away with a first-place ranking for the playoffs as well as they contain arguably the most relaxed stretch of games to wind up before postseason play. They do play three straight games on the road on April 3rd, 5th, and 7th, vs. Cleveland, Indiana, and Toronto but return to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to matchup with Indiana (4/9) and Detroit (4/10). However, a loss vs. Toronto could risk them slipping to a fifth or sixth seed in the eastern conference.
Keep in mind that it’s never too late, especially for the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. These two teams still remain in the battle and could inch up in the playoffs rankings with strong finishes to their seasons.
Sunday, April 3 7 PM: Miami @ Toronto
Tuesday, April 5 8 PM: Milwaukee @ Chicago
Thursday, April 7 7:30 PM: Boston @ Milwaukee
Wednesday, April 6 8 PM: Boston @ Chicago
Thursday, April 7 7:30 PM: Philadelphia @ Toronto
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