Eastern Conference (NBA)

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Eastern Conference
Eastern Conference (NBA) logo.gif
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Formerly Eastern Division (1946-1970)
Founded 1946
No. of teams 15
Most recent champion(s) Miami Heat (5 titles)
Most titles Boston Celtics (21 titles)

The Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association is made up of 15 teams, organized in three divisions of five teams each.

The three division winners and the non-division winner with the best record are seeded 1 through 4 for the playoffs in order of their records, with all remaining non-division winners seeded 5 through 8. This leaves open the possibility that a #2 or #3 seed could be a non-division winner. Home-court advantage in a playoff series is decided by record, not by seeding, so if the #4 and #5 teams meet in a playoff series in which the #5 team has the better record, the #5 team would have home-court advantage.

The reasoning behind this seeding arrangement is that a non-division winner could have a better record than the winners of the two divisions other than the non-division winning team in question. If the three division winners were seeded 1 through 3 for the playoffs in order of their records, and all non-division winners seeded 4 through 8, it would be possible for the two best teams of the conference to meet in the Conference Semifinals. This actually happened in the 2006 NBA Playoffs when the two best teams in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks, both from the Southwest Division, faced one another in the Western Conference Semifinals while the 3rd seed, the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets, had fewer wins than the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th seeds.The NBA proposed and approved of the current format to ensure that the best two teams of a conference can meet no earlier than the Conference Finals.

The Eastern Conference playoffs are divided into two preliminary rounds followed by the Eastern Conference Finals, with the winner of the Conference Championship facing the Western Conference champion in the NBA Finals to determine the champion. All playoff series are best-of-seven.

The current divisional alignment was adopted at the start of the 2004–05 season, when the Charlotte Bobcats began play as the NBA's 30th franchise. This necessitated the move of the New Orleans Hornets from the Eastern Conference's Central Division to the newly created Southwest Division of the Western Conference.

Current Standings[edit]

Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 c-Atlanta Hawks * 55 17 .764 72
2 x-Cleveland Cavaliers * 47 27 .635 9.0 74
3 x-Chicago Bulls 44 29 .603 11.5 73
4 y-Toronto Raptors * 43 30 .589 12.5 73
5 Washington Wizards 41 32 .562 14.5 73
6 Milwaukee Bucks 36 36 .500 19.0 72
7 Miami Heat 33 39 .458 22.0 72
8 Boston Celtics 32 40 .444 23.0 72
9 Brooklyn Nets 31 40 .437 23.5 71
10 Indiana Pacers 31 41 .431 24.0 72
11 Charlotte Hornets 30 41 .423 24.5 71
12 Detroit Pistons 28 44 .389 27.0 72
13 o-Orlando Magic 22 52 .297 34.0 74
14 o-Philadelphia 76ers 18 55 .247 37.5 73
15 o-New York Knicks 14 59 .192 41.5 73


Team Division City Year From
Atlanta Hawks Southeast Atlanta, Georgia 1970–present Western Division
Boston Celtics Atlantic Boston, Massachusetts 1946-present
Brooklyn Nets (2012-present)
New Jersey Nets (1977-2012)
New York Nets (1976-1977)
Atlantic Brooklyn, New York, New York 1976-present ABAdouble-dagger
Charlotte Hornets (19882002, 2014-present)
Charlotte Bobcats (20042014)
Southeast Charlotte, North Carolina 1988-1989, 1990-2002, 2004-present dagger
Chicago Bulls Central Chicago, Illinois 1980-present Western Conference
Cleveland Cavaliers Central Cleveland, Ohio 1970-present dagger
Detroit Pistons Central Detroit, Michigan 1967-1970, 1978-present Western Conference
Indiana Pacers Central Indianapolis, Indiana 1979-present Western Conference
Miami Heat Southeast Miami, Florida 1989-present Western Conference
Milwaukee Bucks Central Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1968-1970, 1980-present Western Conference
New York Knicks Atlantic Manhattan, New York, New York 1946-present
Orlando Magic Southeast Orlando, Florida 1989-1990, 1991-present dagger
Philadelphia 76ers (1963-present)
Syracuse Nationals (1949-1963)
Atlantic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1949-present —*
Toronto Raptors Atlantic Toronto, Ontario 1995-present dagger
Washington Wizards (1997-present)
Washington Bullets (1974-1997)
Capital Bullets (1973-1974)
Baltimore Bullets (1963-1973)
Southeast Washington, D.C. 1966-present Western Division

Former teams[edit]

Team City Year From Year To Current conference
Joined Left
Baltimore Bullets Baltimore, Maryland 1948 Western Division 1954[1] defunct defunct
Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) Buffalo, New York 1970 dagger 1978 Western Conference Western Conference
Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) Cincinnati, Ohio 1962 Western Division 1972 Western Conference Western Conference
Houston Rockets Houston, Texas 1972 Western Conference 1980 Western Conference Western Conference
New Orleans Jazz (now the Utah Jazz) New Orleans, Louisiana 1974 dagger 1979 Western Conference Western Conference
New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans New Orleans, Louisiana 2002 dagger 2004 Western Conference Western Conference
Philadelphia Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1946 1962 Western Division Western Conference
Providence Steamrollers Providence, Rhode Island 1946 1949 defunct defunct
San Antonio Spurs San Antonio, Texas 1976 ABAdouble-dagger 1980 Western Conference Western Conference
Toronto Huskies Toronto, Ontario 1946 1947 defunct defunct
Washington Capitols Washington, D.C. 1946
Western Division 1947
Western Division

Team timeline[edit]

Denotes team that currently in the conference
Denotes team that has left the conference

New Orleans Pelicans Toronto Raptors Orlando Magic Miami Heat Charlotte Hornets Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers San Antonio Spurs Brooklyn Nets Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Cleveland Cavaliers Los Angeles Clippers Atlanta Hawks Milwaukee Bucks Detroit Pistons Washington Wizards Sacramento Kings Philadelphia 76ers Baltimore Bullets (1944-1954) Washington Capitols Toronto Huskies Providence Steamrollers Golden State Warriors New York Knicks Boston Celtics

Eastern Conference champions[edit]

Eastern Conference was named Eastern Division until 1970
NBA Champions in bold

List of Eastern Conference teams with the most conference championships[edit]

Season results[edit]

^ Denotes team that won the NBA Finals
+ Denotes team that won the Conference Finals, but lost the NBA Finals
* Denotes team that qualified for the NBA Playoffs