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2021 NBA Playoffs Prediction: Eastern Conference Top 10 Ranking

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers
Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers
ANALYST
Modified 27 Mar 2021
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As the NBA enters its last thirty games, we have put together our predictions for which teams we believe will make-up the Eastern Conference's top-ten sides come the end of the season.

In recent weeks, the East's three powerhouses have shown they are genuine contenders for the championship this season against the best the West has to offer, while those 7 games behind the Nets battle for the remaining playoff berths.

Brooklyn has assembled one of the most terrifying offensive trios in NBA history but will have a tough time overcoming the Philadelphia defense should they collide in the postseason.

Meanwhile, shrewd moves by Miami and Chicago at the trade deadline have put them in a position to compete.They will be no pushovers in a postseason matchup.

2021 NBA Playoffs Prediction: Ranking the top ten teams in the Eastern Conference

Both the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors have dominated the NBA's Eastern conference over the past few seasons. However, the Raptors have had a dramatic fall from grace this year.

Meanwhile, the Bucks are going to have to get past either the 76ers or Nets to claim a first Conference title in the playoffs.

Let's take a look at our predicted top-ten among the NBA's East.

#1 Philadelphia 76ers

Tobias Harris has had to be Philly
Tobias Harris has had to be Philly's star in Embiid's absence
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Having led the Eastern Conference standings for the majority of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to obtain home-court seeding going into the NBA playoffs.

Doc Rivers has come into Philly and is getting the best out of stars Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Embiid is putting up MVP-calibre numbers, averaging 29.9 points and 11.5 rebounds a night. Harris is putting up 20+ points and has led the Sixers since the All-Star break in Embiid's absence.

During their seven-game run without the Cameroonian star, the Philadelphia 76ers have gone 6-1. Although it won't be possible to pick up an NBA championship with Embiid out, the Sixers have shown they are damn hard to beat with the league's second-best defense and have the rotation pieces to go all the way this year.

#2 Brooklyn Nets

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James Harden has had to lead the Brooklyn Nets without Irving and KD
James Harden has had to lead the Brooklyn Nets without Irving and KD

The expectation is that the NBA Eastern conference standings will come down to the wire with the Brooklyn Nets constantly on the Sixers' heels. It goes without saying that the Nets have what every team wants - three dominant, future Hall of Fame scorers.

Holding the Nets back from the top spot for us, however, is their defense and injury history with KD and Kyrie Irving.

Keen not to rush Durant back, the franchise is taking his rehab extremely seriously. They have been coasting through most games without him as Harden and Irving consistently put on MVP-level scoring displays.

Since the NBA All-Star break, both have put up 40+ point nights, with Irving doing that twice, while the front office have acquired Blake Griffin just to make life easier.

Come the playoffs, the Nets will be a different beast, though they can't always rely on their elite offensive talent. They will need to balance out their game at least to a greater extent than what's currently on display.

#3 Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks leader Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks leader Giannis Antetokounmpo

Currently on a roll, it appears there is nothing stopping the Milwaukee Bucks at the moment. Of their past 14 matchups, the Bucks are 13-1, lifting them to a 29-14 record from 16-13.

That single loss came against the Nuggets and is the only indicator as to why Milwaukee may just miss out on the top-2 spots in the NBA's east. Although they have looked back to their best, during that 14 game spell, 9 of their opponents had losing records at the time of tip-off.

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Playing against the NBA's elite sides has been where the Bucks have struggled this season. The Jazz, Nuggets and Nets have all scored big on Milwaukee and will undoubtedly be a worry for coach Budenholzer come the postseason.

Still, with Antetokounmpo returning to his MVP form, they look unstoppable at the moment and will push Philly and Brooklyn all the way.

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Published 27 Mar 2021, 04:47 IST
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