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March Madness: Welcome to the Eastern Conference playoff stretch run

Get ready for the most exciting time to be a fan of the NBA

Now the real fun begins!

We have entered March, and while the collegiate players will have a chance to achieve their shining moment, the pros will be entering the finally stretch of the regular season. In most seasons, March would feature a few meaningful games for teams trying to make the postseason. Normally, a large contest in the final full month would not determine a whole lot leading into the playoffs. However, this season will feature a month long competition, filled with playoff teams jockeying for position as well as the opportunity to get in. It’s true that the Western Conference race will garner most of the attention from the fans because of it’s utter chaos. For the teams in the East, they will be fighting for higher stakes.

The Eastern Conference is known as “The King’s” conference. LeBron James has ruled the conference for seven years now, dispatching every challenger on his quest to a championship. This year feels different however. Every season is drama filled when it comes to LeBron-led teams. That’s nothing new, but the talent surrounding him has dissipated since the Kyrie Irving trade. This has made the race for playoff positioning in the East so vital this time of year.

Seeds three through eight are separated by just three and a half games. The Cavs are currently in the third seed. One would assume LeBron would not allow his team to dip below that, by any means necessary. The inconsistency of their season though, does open the door for other teams sneak up and capture that position. The Indiana Pacers have become a breath of fresh air this NBA season. They have proven that their surprising success will not stop at just making the playoffs, but potentially hosting a first round playoff game in a game one.

Seeds five through eight are just separated by two games. The Milwaukee Bucks are currently the eighth seed after struggling over the past few weeks. On February 14 the team was in the fourth seed with 32 wins. Having won only two games in that stretch has caused them to landslide down the standings.

The reason each game will be so important down this final full month of the regular season is also for determining matchups as well. Positioning be damned, certain matchups will also determine who advances beyond the first round come April. The Sixers, who are currently slated in the sixth seed, are viewed as a dangerous team for anyone. The emergence of Rookie of the Year frontrunner, Ben Simmons, and the utter dominance of Joel Embiid would frighten most opposing coaching staffs.

As you can see, the Eastern Conference is not as simple as everyone thinks it is. Almost every team has a chance to shine, and create various storylines along the way. Will the narrative change, or will things remain the same? Buckle up folks, we are in for what is sure to be a wild ride.

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Hill is a Staff Writer for
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