Eastern Conference Play-In Push

Even with the teams officially being locked in the east conference, no official seeds have been clinched by any team, including the play-in seeds in the eastern conference.

The race for the seeds 7-10 in the eastern conference is seperated by one game, and these seeds are vital seeds because of the play-in tournament scenario.

Here’s a look at what each eastern conference team seed 7-10 needs to do in order to secure the best play-in position.

#7 Cleveland Cavaliers (43-36)

CLEVELAND, OHIO – DECEMBER 08: Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 08, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, the user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Key Remaining Games:

vs. at Brooklyn Nets -6.5 (4/8), vs. Milwaukee Bucks -2.5 (4/10)

Final Week Record Projection:

(1-2)

Seed Projection :

7th

Playoff Probability:

63%

X-factor:

The Cleveland Cavaliers need both big men healthy and back in the rotation to have postseason success.

The rookie of the year candidate Evan Mobley has been out with a sprained ankle injury for the past four games.

In those four games, the Cavaliers have gone 1-3, which shows the important piece he plays on the team. Mobley hopes to make a return from the injury before the Cavaliers’ final game.

First-time NBA all-star selection Jarret Allen has also been out since March 6th with a fracture to his left middle finger.

The Cavaliers have gone 7-9 since Allen’s departure from the rotation. His presence is a vital factor in deciding the team’s destiny this postseason.

#8 Atlanta Hawks (41-37)

Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Key Remaining Games:

@ Toronto Raptors -4 (4/5), @ Miami Heat -5 (4/8) 

Final Week Record Projection:

2-2

Seed Projection:

8th

Playoff Probability:

60%

X-factor:

The Atlanta Hawks look to make consecutive playoffs appearances after last year’s success of making the conference finals.

To achieve this goal, the Hawks have to improve their defense. Even as one of the league’s most efficient offenses‘ it’s still not enough to go far. 

In fairness, the Hawks have been missing their power forward, John Collins. He has been out since March 14th with a strained right foot and a sprained right ring finger.

Collins has not made much progress since the injury occurred, and he is a pivotal piece in the team’s defensive efficiency success.

In conclusion, if the Hawks are without Collins this postseason, the journey to the playoffs will be more challenging.

#9 Charlotte Hornets (40-38)

Lamelo Ball
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES

Key Remaining games:

@ Miami Heat -7 (4/5), @ Chicago Bulls -5 (4/8)

Final Week Record Projection:

2-2

Seed Projection:

10th

Playoff Chances:

26%

X-factor:

The Charlotte Hornets look to make some buzz in the Queen City as they try to earn a bid to their first playoffs appearance since the 15’-16 season.

The Hornets need to improve their interior defense to get a bid to the playoffs. Their defense ranks in the bottom half of the NBA in every defensive category.

The Hornets recently got back their former all-star forward Gordon Hayward from injury. Hayward’s season averages are 16.1 ppg, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.

With the addition of Hayward back in the rotation, it will improve their high-scoring offense even more. The Hornets still will lack interior defense, which will make it hard for them to advance far in the postseason.

#10 Brooklyn Nets (40-38)

Mental Health in pro sports
Credit: Lee Tran of Fadeaway world, more than sports

Key Remaining games:

@ New York Knicks -3 (4/6), vs. Cleveland Cavaliers +6.5 (4/8)

Final Week Record Projection:

3-1

Seed Projection:

8th

Playoff Chances:

51%

X-factor:

What needs to be done by the Nets to reach the postseason is that they have to become better defensively.

The Nets’ defensive efficiency ranks 18th out of 30 NBA teams, and the defense hasn’t shown much improvement over the season.

Brooklyn recently traded for Ben Simmons, who is a tremendous defender. Simmons has failed to make his season debut because of a back injury.

Despite not appearing for the Nets this season, they have mentioned ramping up Simmons recovery process from the injury. There is still no timetable for his return at this time.

In conclusion, the Nets’ journey to make a postseason run will be challenging without the defensive presence of Simmons.

Wrap-Up

As each team concludes its regular season play, each team seeds 7-10 looks to attempt to go perfect to achieve the best play-in spot in the eastern conference.

Here’s a look at how the NBA fairs in power rankings, as they enter the final week of the regular season.

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