This article contains opinion.
With the NBA regular season concluding Wednesday, there is only one more day of regular season basketball remaining.
While many teams have secured their spots in the playoffs, there are others who are still battling to slide into the playoff picture and some others battling for a home court advantage in the postseason.
With the eight teams in the Western Conference each locked into the playoffs, it’s much more intriguing to take a look at the Eastern Conference playoff race.
At the top of the conference sit the Milwaukee Bucks, who are posting the best record in the NBA for the season, followed by the Toronto Raptors, 76ers, Celtics and Pacers, who sit in the No. 5 spot. With only three other spots remaining, there were five teams trying to squeeze themselves Sunday.
The Nets and Magic both clinched playoff positions with victories over the weekend. It’ll be Brooklyn’s first postseason appearance since 2015 and Orlando’s first since 2012.
The Heat and the Hornets find themselves on the outside looking in and are both just one game behind the Pistons, currently holding the No. 8 seed.
The Hornets are coming off a big victory against the Pistons on Sunday afternoon and need to win their remaining two games and have the Pistons lose to the Grizzlies or the Knicks in their final games of the season.
According to ESPN’s matchup predictor, the Hornets have a 61.3 percent chance of beating the Cavs on Tuesday and a 51.6 percent chance of defeating the Magic on Wednesday. Calculating these odds with the Pistons’ loss chances, the Hornets have upped their playoff chances to about 20 percent as of Sunday evening.
The Miami Heat is the other team needing to win out and get some help in order to make the playoffs. The Heat’s remaining games are against the 76ers (46.2 percent chance of win) and the Nets (37.8 percent chance of win). The Heat will need the Pistons to lose both of their games to end the year as well to make the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since LeBron was in town.
It would be great to see Wade enter the playoffs one final time, and what better way to do it than when his back is against the wall in these last few games? It should be interesting to see what final shifts do occur in the NBA playoff picture, and we will be looking forward to all the action and excitement the postseason will bring.