The NBA’s East play-in field is set: Miami goes to Philadelphia while Atlanta goes to Chicago


Orlando blew out Milwaukee, Indiana blew out Atlanta, Philadelphia blew out Brooklyn and Miami blew out Toronto.

And all that meant this: Nothing on the bottom half of the Eastern Conference’s playoff chase changed on the final day of the regular season.

It will be eighth-seeded Miami visiting seventh-seeded Philadelphia in an East play-in game on Wednesday, followed by 10th-seeded Atlanta visiting ninth-seeded Chicago in an elimination game later that night. The Heat-76ers winner will face No. 2 seed New York in Round 1 of the playoffs, and the loser will play host to the Hawks-Bulls winner on Friday night.

The winner of that game will play No. 1 seed Boston in Round 1, starting April 21 at TD Garden.

“Look, this is the best time of year,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team started in the play-in last season and wound up in the NBA Finals. “These kind of environments, the games, the context … you can’t expect it to be easy.”

The East result set the game schedule for the Western Conference as well, with both of those play-in games set for Tuesday. Those matchups — Sacramento, the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State will be joined by either Phoenix or New Orleans — will be set later Sunday afternoon.

The full order in the East: Boston is No. 1, followed by New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Orlando, Indiana, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta.

Orlando won 47 games to capture the Southeast Division and get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020. Had things gone differently Sunday, the Magic might have been assured of no more than a play-in spot.

“So proud of them,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. “There’s not really a lot of words for it. You talk about a group who has been up, been down, battled back, resilient … they proved it. Big stakes, they took it in their own hands.”

The only spot that switched in the East on Sunday was No. 2 and No. 3. The Knicks’ 120-119 overtime win over Chicago got them past Milwaukee, sending the Bucks to No. 3.

“A hell of a regular season,” Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo said. “Let’s get ready for the playoffs.”

Cleveland is the No. 4 seed in the East for the second consecutive year. The Cavaliers had a chance to move to No. 2 or No. 3 in the East with a win on Sunday and led lottery-bound Charlotte by 13 with 10 minutes remaining.

And yet they didn’t seem to want to move up much, getting outscored 30-7 the rest of the way. Charlotte won 120-110.



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