Scouting the Eastern Conference
In bracket order
Series format: 2-2-1-1-1
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 12, 2018
LeBron James, Cavaliers: His average, 27.5 points, is his highest in eight years. The 33-year-old played 82 games for the first time in his career.
Sixers: Haven’t lost since the night the NCAA tournament started. The play-in games, that is. The 16-game winning streak includes 10 in a row at home.
Toronto: Went 34-7 at home, 17-3 in the last 20. Someone’s going to have to win at least once at Air Canada Center to knock off the Raptors.
Myles Turner, Pacers: Shooting just 27.3 percent from the field over the last five games and has posted -13, -22 and -27 in three of them.
Washington: The Wiz are 7-14 since Feb. 27.
Boston: What’s next on the injury front? The leprechaun developing emphysema from all of those years of Red Auerbach cigars.
Odds to win …
Source: Westgate Superbook, Las Vegas
Check this out: The Sixers opened the season 20-1 to win the conference, 100-1 to win the title.
Points per game
Check this out: During their 16-game winning streak, the Sixers are averaging 118.3 points. The average margin of victory has been 14.1.
Opp. Points per game
Check this out: The Sixers lead the NBA in opponents’ field goal percentage (43.4). Miami, their first-round opponent, is seventh.
Assists per game
Check this out: Ben Simmons (8.6 per game) is third in assists among players on Eastern Conference playoff teams. Only John Wall (9.6) and LeBron James (9.1) average more. Russell Westbrook (10.3) led the NBA.
The top 10 regular-season scorers expected to play in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Joel Embiid is included. Kyrie Irving is not.
|LeBron James, Cle||82||27.5||Has won the last seven East championships|
|G. Antetokounmpo, Mil.||75||26.9||Next step is to win a playoff series|
|Victor Oladipo, Ind.||75||23.1||Entered year with 15.9 career avg.|
|DeMar DeRozan, Tor.||80||23.0||Down from 27.3, but team is better|
|Joel Embiid, Sixers||63||22.9||Played 94 games, missed 234 since drafted|
|Bradley Beal, Was.||82||22.6||Career low 37.5 pct. from three|
|Khris Middleton, Mil.||82||20.1||Former D-Leaguer; signed for $70 mil in 2015|
|John Wall, Was.||41||19.4||A top-5 point guard when healthy|
|Eric Bledsoe, Mil.||74||17.7||Acquired from Phoenix in November|
|Kevin Love, Cle.||59||17.6||Hit 41.5 from three, his best in seven years|
Check this out: Seven of the top 10 scorers for playoff teams play in the West (James Harden, 30.4; Anthony Davis, 28.1; Damian Lillard, 26.9; Steph Curry, 26.4; Kevin Durant, 26.4; Russell Westbrook, 25.4; LaMarcus Aldridge, 23.1).
Standings since Dec. 29
Among East playoff teams
Check this out: The Sixers lost at Portland on Dec. 28 to fall to 15-19, the last time they were four games under .500.
He said it
“Toronto’s having a heck of a year, Boston and everything they’re doing with a lot of injuries themselves. And I think some of the teams in the middle of the pack are interesting. But until somebody beats whatever team LeBron’s playing for, it always feels like the team that he’s playing for is the team to beat in the East.”
— Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer