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Permutations & predictions for the 2023 Eastern Conference Playoffs with 70 games played

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All teams have played at least 70 games at this point, so it’s time to get serious about making our guesses for the NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Picture in 2023.

Only two teams in the East are out of contention for a playoff or play-in spot, which means that 13 teams are still duking it out this season.

NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Picture in 2023

Let’s look at the current positioning of the East teams in the standings and make predictions for the NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Picture in 2023.

Eliminated teams

Detroit Pistons (16 wins, 56 losses)

No surprises on this one, as the Pistons were expected to be a lottery team this season. A season-ending shin injury forced lead star Cade Cunningham to only play 12 games, and the Pistons just don’t have the arsenal to make a difference on both ends of the floor.

They’re now hoping that their luck doesn’t run out in their pursuit of Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft.


Charlotte Hornets (22 wins, 50 losses)

The Hornets suffered the same fate as that of the Pistons: they lost their star guard LaMelo Ball to a long injury layoff, and they didn’t have the roster depth to rack up the wins.

The emergence of rookie big man Mark Williams in the latter part of the season was a bright spot, but this roster still has a lot of holes moving forward.

Outside looking in

Orlando Magic (29 wins, 43 losses)

The Magic won only two of their last eight games, and their upcoming schedule is not easy either.

They’ll face the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Brooklyn Nets twice and will have tough matchups against the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat.

Indiana Pacers (32 wins, 39 losses)

The Pacers’ abysmal record spanning January and February is biting them hard, especially now that they’re missing the services of All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton.


But it will be a tough upcoming schedule for Indy, with matchups against the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Milwaukee Bucks.

Washington Wizards (32 wins, 39 losses)

Many had the Wizards at the bottom of their predictions for NBA Playoff standings, but this team is taking advantage of their good run to start their 2023 schedule.

The Wizards have lost seven of their last nine games, though.

Current Play-In teams

Chicago Bulls (33 wins, 37 losses)

The Bulls have injected life into their playoff hopes by winning four of their last five games.

An upcoming two-game mini-series against the Philadelphia 76ers could make or break their season.

Toronto Raptors (35 wins, 37 losses)

After a three-game losing skid, the Raptors bounced back by winning their last three games.

It will be a hard race for the Raptors though, as they’ll have two games each against elite teams like the Bucks and the Celtics.

Atlanta Hawks (35 wins, 36 losses)

Their recent win against the Golden State Warriors snapped a two-game losing skid, but the Hawks need to take care of upcoming assignments against the Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs to maintain their spot in the play-in tournament.

Miami Heat (39 wins, 34 losses)

The Heat is the only currently positioned play-in team with a record above .500.

They still have a shot at an outright playoff berth, especially with the Brooklyn Nets slipping as of late.

Current Playoff teams

Brooklyn Nets (39 wins, 32 losses)

The Nets recently lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Sacramento Kings, and an upcoming matchup against the Denver Nuggets will be a tough one.

They’re still clinging to the last outright playoff spot in the East, but things could change in the next several days.

New York Knicks (42 wins, 30 losses)

The Knicks’ nine-game winning streak spanning February and March might be enough cushion for them to avoid the play-in.

Jalen Brunson just came back from an injury layoff, so things are looking up in New York.

Cleveland Cavaliers (45 wins, 28 losses)

The Cavaliers will likely remain in the fourth spot, but they still have a shot at the top three, especially with their relatively easy schedule.

Boston Celtics (49 wins, 23 losses)

The Celtics are slipping at the wrong time. With 10 games left on their schedule, they need to get their act together if they want to hold on to the third spot in the standings.

Philadelphia 76ers (48 wins, 22 losses)

The Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA right now, as they’re currently riding an eight-game winning streak.

Their schedule won’t be easy, though: they’ll face teams currently battling for play-in and playoff spots.

Milwaukee Bucks (50 wins, 20 losses)

During the start, particularly when injuries hounded Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks weren’t at the top spot of most people’s Eastern Conference postseason permutations.

But here they are, and they’ll likely hold on to the top seed in the East.

Predictions for NBA Eastern Conference Playoff picture in 2023

  • (1) Bucks versus (8) Raptors
  • (4) Cavaliers versus (5) Knicks
  • (3) Celtics versus (6) Heat
  • (2) 76ers versus (7) Hawks

How does the Play-In work?

NBA teams who finish from 7 to 10 in the standings will battle in the Play-In Tournament. The 7th and 8th seeds will face off for an outright playoff spot, with the loser relegated to a knockout game against the 9th and 10th seed matchup winner.

The winner of that game will then secure the eighth and last playoff spot in the conference.

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