The final weekend of one of the most interesting and thrilling NBA season’s is upon us. Although the year was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t fail to give us unforgettable moments and plays, and the playoffs are shaping up to be a thrilling conclusion.

In the Eastern Conference, the race for the four through six seeds has become a microcosm for the season. Every other seed is decided but the five and six seeds, and we won’t know those seeds until Saturday night, in which the Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks in what should be a thrilling game. The Bucks are firmly entrenched in the three seed as of now, but only sit a game behind the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets, meaning if the Nets lose either of their remaining two games against the Chicago Bulls or Detroit Pistons, they could fall to the third seed.

The Bucks have the proper incentive to beat the Heat, especially after last year’s heated playoff series between the two teams. The Heat however, want to win this game so they don’t have to face the Bucks again in the first round of the playoffs. Miami currently sits in the fifth spot in the East, meaning they get to play the Atlanta Hawks, who have locked up the four seed and can’t move up or down. While the fourth-seeded Hawks have been absolutely tremendous this year since making Nate McMillan their head coach, the team is relatively young and inexperienced. Their best player, Trae Young, is a liability defensively and one can imagine that will be exposed even more in a playoff game. Getting to keep the five seed is a huge deal for the Heat.

The New York Knicks are the current six seed, and are attempting to pass the Heat for the five seed after a tremendous come-from behind victory over the Spurs last night. The Knicks trailed by 17 points and were able to pull off the miraculous comeback. They face off with two play-in tournament teams this weekend, in the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics. Wins in each of those contests could be absolutely vital in sliding back up to reclaim the five seed and taking on the Hawks in the first round. If the Heat lose one of the the team’s last two games, which could very well happen against the Bucks, the Knicks could easily reclaim the fifth spot in the East if they finish the season strong.

As for the rest of the conference, the Philadelphia 76ers sit at the top of the standings while the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards are the final two play-in teams in the East.

Current Eastern Conference Standings:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Milwaukee Bucks
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Miami Heat
  6. New York Knicks
  7. Boston Celtics
  8. Charlotte Hornets
  9. Indiana Pacers
  10. Washington Wizards
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