Bucks and Celtics Vying for Top Spot in Eastern Conference

In the closing stages of the NBA regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks are vying for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would grant them home-court advantage through the Eastern Conference finals. Five teams from the Eastern Conference have already assured their place in the postseason, while the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat are vying for sixth place, which would allow them to bypass the Play-In Tournament. The Bucks and Celtics, who occupy the first and second place respectively, are both vying for the #1 seed with only four games left in the season.

The Eastern Play-In Tournament teams are mostly set, with two teams still in contention for the sixth spot. The Brooklyn Nets are presently in sixth place, but the Miami Heat are lurking only two games behind. Sixth place is critical in the standings since that team would avoid the Play-In Tournament. The seventh and eighth place teams will face off in the Play-In Tournament to decide the #7 seed, with the loser then having to face the winner of the ninth place vs. tenth place game to determine the #8 seed.

The Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and Chicago Bulls are competing in the final week of the season to decide the order in the Play-In Tournament. The Bucks (56-22) are the current first place holders with the best record in the NBA, but the Celtics (54-24) are only two games behind and still have a shot at claiming the #1 seed. According to a projection by FiveThirtyEight, the Celtics have a 39% chance to earn a spot in the NBA Finals and a 26% chance to win the championship, while the Bucks have a 26% chance to advance to the NBA Finals and a 15% chance to clinch a second championship in the last three seasons.

The Nets and Heat are sprinting towards the sixth place to stay away from the Play-In Tournament. The Nets (43-35) have the upper hand right now, but the Heat (41-37) are looking to steal it away. The Heat have the second-easiest schedule in the NBA, while the Nets have three home games coming up. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Heat have a 1% chance to make it to the NBA Finals and a 0.6% chance to win the championship, and the Nets have a 0.7% chance to reach the finals and a 0.2% chance to win the title.

The Hawks, Raptors, and Bulls are all vying for eighth place, as it could give them a shot at snatching the #7 seed if they win their Play-In Tournament matchup between the seventh and eighth place teams. In the event of a loss, they will still get another chance to qualify for the postseason as the #8 seed if they beat the winner of the ninth place vs. tenth place game.

The Hawks, Raptors, and Bulls have different odds to win the championship, according to DraftKings. The Bucks are the consensus favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA championship at +310 odds, followed by the Celtics at +320. The Heat are +13000 odds to win the championship, and the Nets are +35000 odds. The Hawks and Raptors are both +30000 odds, and the Bulls are the longest shot on the board at +10000.