NBA Insider Highlights Tight Race For East No. 6 Seed

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Written By Maya Cantina

(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

With about a week left in the NBA’s regular season, there are a number of teams aggressively jockeying for optimal postseason positioning right now.

A lot of the attention when it comes to playoff positioning is focused on the Western Conference, where just 2.5 games separate the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks from the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers.

But there is also a tight race for seeds six through eight in the Eastern Conference taking place, as Tim Bontemps pointed out in a Twitter post.

The Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers are all looking to finish sixth in the East, which would allow them to avoid the play-in tournament and secure a first-round playoff matchup that would be a little easier.

The Pacers, who are sixth, are currently just one game ahead of the eighth-place 76ers.

Of those three teams, perhaps the Sixers have the most momentum right now — they have a three-game winning streak and recently welcomed reigning MVP Joel Embiid back after he missed two months with a meniscus injury.

The Heat are always a dangerous team starting around this time of year, and they’re always primed to surprise people once the playoffs start.

Last year, they pulled off a monumental upset over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, and they could end up with the exact same matchup in the first round of this year’s playoffs.

While many feel the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics are on track to meet in the NBA Finals, there is plenty of depth and parity elsewhere, and therefore, the unexpected could very well happen over the next two months or so.

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