Pacers, Wizards, Heat, Bucks. Who Is the 8th Seed?

Four teams are fighting for playoff seeding in the bottom of the East. Two teams are from the Central and two teams from the Southeast. The Pacers are in the 5 slot and want to hang on. They’d play the 76ers in the first round. The Wizards are currently sixth and slotted to play LeBron James and as daunting as that might be the Wizards are pretty good against the Cavs. The Heat and the Bucks round out 7 and 8, playing Boston and the Raptors.

Three and a half games separate all three teams.

The Pacers have surprised everyone after getting rid of Paul George. Victor Oladipo is carrying them. The Wizards have been gritty without John Wall but his absence hurts. Miami is doing usual Erik Spoelstra things. Wade is back, Dragic is raising his game, and the Heat are the grittiest and physically toughest team in the league. The Bucks are ailing without Giannis.

In years past, the recipe was avoid LeBron James. But the East has gotten stronger and without Kyrie the Cavs have gotten weaker, particularly on the defensive end.

So how’s it look?

The Schedule

The Pacers have 9 games remaining, 1 set of back-to-back games, 6 on the road. They play 4  games against teams who are currently in the playoffs including the Warriors twice. They play one tanking team: Kings.  Head-to-Head: Heat (home). Prediction: 5-4

The Wizards have 10 games remaining, 3 set of back-to-back games, 5 on the road. They play 4 games against teams who are currently in the playoffs, including the Celtics, Cavs, Rockets and Spurs.  They face tanking teams: Knicks, Hawks and Magic. Head-to-Head: None.  Prediction: 7-3

The Heat have 9 games remaining, 1 set of back-to-back games,  3 on the road. They play 4 games against teams who are currently in the playoffs, including the Cavs, Thunder and Raptors. They face tanking teams: Bulls, Hawks, Knicks.   Head-to-Head:  Pacers (road). Prediction:  5-4.

The Bucks have 10 games remaining, 0 back-to-back games, 6 on the road. They play 4 games against teams who are currently in the playoffs, including the Warriors, Celtics and 76ers. They face tanking teams: Knicks, Magic. Head-to-Head: None.  Prediction:.3-7

Tie-Breakers

Pacers win the tie breaker against the Bucks but not the Wizards. If they beat the Heat, they will split the series and the division record breaks the tie.

Wizards win the tie breaker over the Pacers. A tie with the Bucks or Heat goes to the division record since they split with Milwaukee and Miami.

Heat win the tie breaker against the Bucks and the Pacers, if they beat the Pacers. They split with the Wizards and the division record breaks the tie.

 

The 8th Seed

Bucks

The 7th Seed?

Heat

The 6th Seed?

Pacers

The 5th Seed?

Wizards