The Eastern Conference playoff matchups are set. The Celtics take home the No. 1 seed and will play the Bulls (8) in the opening round. The Cavaliers (2) will take on the Pacers (7). The Raptors (3) will clash with the Bucks (6) and the Wizards (4) will battle the Hawks (5).
The Heat were hoping to sneak in, but with both Indiana and Chicago winning tonight, they will watch the playoffs from home. Coach Erik Spoelstra, who’s in the conversation for the Coach of the Year award, is upset to see Miami’s season end, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald passes along via Twitter. “I don’t know if I ever felt this way about a team before. I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted anything more for a team,” Spoelstra said.
On the bright side, Miami has a shot at the No. 1 overall pick, owning 0.5% of the ping pong balls in this year’s lottery. You can find each lottery team’s chances at the No.1 overall pick on our Reverse Standings page.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Cavaliers swapped Edy Tavares for Larry Sanders because they felt Tavares was “more game ready,” Sam Amico of Amico Hoops relays (Twitter feed). It was reported yesterday that Cleveland and Sanders mutually parted because he would not have made the rotation. Tavares had 10 rebounds and six blocks in his debut with the team tonight.
- Irina Pavlova, who serves as a top adviser to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, is leaving the organization, Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes. Pavlova is on the board of directors for Brooklyn and Brooklyn Arena LLC, which is the company that runs the Barclays Center.
- Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy sees Reggie Jackson‘s injury as a major reason why the Pistons never met expectations, Rod Beard of The Detroit News passes along. Jackson didn’t play well upon returning, but Van Gundy believes he will bounce back next year. “I think Reggie will come back and be as good as or better than he was two years ago. I honestly do. There were a lot of things that were physically and mentally very difficult for him to handle,” SVG said. “He’s committed to getting those things changed. He’s a talented guy and he’ll be really good next year — I have confidence in him.”