Poll: Which Team Will Earn No. 1 Seed In East?

Like the Rockets in the Western Conference, the Raptors entered the All-Star break on a hot streak that allowed them to claim the No. 1 seed in the East. With Toronto on a seven-game winning streak and Boston having lost three in a row, the 41-16 Raps now have a two-game cushion on the 40-19 Celtics.

While the Raptors currently hold the top spot in the East, they’re not a lock to hang onto it the rest of the way. The Celtics figure to bounce back, particularly when Marcus Smart returns to their lineup. And the Cavaliers aren’t going anywhere either — after a midseason swoon, a series of deadline-day trades have revitalized the Cavs, who have won four in a row to increase their record to 34-22, 6.5 games back of Toronto.

It would take a major slump for the Raptors to give up a 6.5-game lead with just 25 to play, but if that slump happens, we probably shouldn’t rule out teams like the Wizards (33-24), Pacers (33-25), and Bucks (32-25) either. Still, those clubs are very long shots for the No. 1 seed. The race for the top spot in the East looks like it will come down to three teams — and possibly just two if the Cavs dug too deep a hole during the first half.

Unlike in the West, where the Rockets and Warriors have been just as successful on the road as at home, a pair of top Eastern contenders have been much better when they’ve had home-court advantage. The Raptors have an NBA-best 24-4 mark at home, compared to 17-12 on the road. The Cavs, meanwhile, are 20-7 in home games and having a losing record (14-15) as visitors. Claiming the No. 1 seed and gaining home-court advantage throughout the playoffs could be a huge factor for those teams.

What do you think? Will the Raptors hang onto the No. 1 seed? Will the Celtics reclaim it? Will the new-look Cavs go on a hot streak to get back in the race to the top? Vote below in our poll and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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13 thoughts on “Poll: Which Team Will Earn No. 1 Seed In East?

  1. mcase7187

    I feel like the C’s (I’m a fan)stepped on the gas to early and will fade at the end it will most likely be the Cavs

  2. GMB 883

    Once the Celtics are healthy this won’t be as close as it is right now. Celtics will win the East by 5 games but the question will be how do they do in the playoffs? It will be interesting.

    • hradbrademan

      The Celtics winning the East by 5 games is extremely unlikely at this point. If they go 25-0 (which won’t happen) the Raptors would have to go 18-7 for that to happen (which actually matches their current winning percentage). Unless you see the Raptors losing about 15 of their next 25 games then your math here makes no sense, and if you’ve ever watched a Raptors game, you’d know there is no reason to believe that that will happen.

  3. KCelts

    I’m a Celtics fan. This is the Raptors year for getting the 1 seed. I think the thing is both the Cavs and Celtics will heat up in the playoffs while Toronto may peak early during the regular season. Because of that, I think there’s a great chance Toronto can hang on.

  4. paolom

    Taking into account the schedule, the Raptors have the best odds of winning the East. Factors in their favour:

    1. The Raptors have 2 games on Boston (3 in the loss column) and 6.5 games on Cleveland.

    2. Toronto won’t leave the Eastern time zone for the rest of the regular season.

    3. No road trip longer than 3 games.

    4. Only 11 of their remaining 25 games come against teams with winning records.

    The only aspect of their schedule that might work against them are their remaining back-to-back sets which they have 4 of compared to 3 and 2 for Boston and Cleveland respectively. However, their back-to-backs feature sets of: vsAtlanta/@Detroit (Mar. 6-7), @Indiana/vsDallas (Mar. 15-16), @Orlando/@Cleveland (Mar.20-21) and @Cleveland/vsBoston (Apr.3-4).

    If anything April 3rd and 4th will likely determine who finishes out on top considering Boston also visits Toronto on March 31st.

    The biggest challenge Cleveland faces is a 6 game road trip that, while not featuring any top seeded teams, is still a six game trek and Cleveland cannot afford to go 3 and 3 or worse when Toronto faces Houston and Oklahoma during that stretch (with games against New York, Brooklyn, Indiana and Dallas in between).

  5. Have to lean Toronto here. They have a healthy lead and @paolom dropped some really good info. Cavs might make a run but it will be too little too late. Celtics have overachieved this year and while they are a Marcus Smart away from figuring out their defensive woes of late, their offense is still a mystery outside of Kyrie. I’d still favor Cleveland and then Boston in the playoffs (until the Raptors can prove that they can actually play well in the playoffs) from the East, but barring injury the Raptors should end the season as the #1 seed.

  6. Don’t think it’s going to matter much in the long run other than bragging rights. Which is something I guess. But Raptors are the clear favorite no matter what we fans think.

    The way the people that do have the clout are going, we won’t recognize the NBA in a year or two with the no divisions or conferences having anything to do with anything except a point on a compass. stop which saddens me greatly. I do like the idea of bragging rights to divisions and conferences as this article attests to. But if the NBA is going to allow the top 16 in the playoffs regardless of playoffs that’ll effectively end division and conference rivalries.

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