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) Cleveland Cavaliers (2 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 * 60 22 .732 82
2 y-Cleveland Cavaliers * 53 29 .646 7.0 82
3 x-Chicago Bulls 50 32 .610 10.0 82
4 y-Toronto Raptors * 49 33 .598 11.0 82
5 x-Washington Wizards 46 36 .561 14.0 82
6 x-Milwaukee Bucks 41 41 .500 19.0 82
7 x-Boston Celtics 40 42 .488 20.0 82
8 x-Brooklyn Nets 38 44 .463 22.0 82
9 Indiana Pacers 38 44 .463 22.0 82
10 Miami Heat 37 45 .451 23.0 82
11 Charlotte Hornets 33 49 .402 27.0 82
12 Detroit Pistons 32 50 .390 28.0 82
13 Orlando Magic 25 57 .305 35.0 82
14 Philadelphia 76ers 18 64 .220 42.0 82
15 New York Knicks 17 65 .207 43.0 82

Teams[edit]

Team Division City Year From
Joined
Atlanta Hawks Southeast Atlanta, Georgia 1970–present Western Division
Boston Celtics Atlantic Boston, Massachusetts 1946–present
Brooklyn Nets (2012–present)
New Jersey Nets (19772012)
New York Nets (19761977)
Atlantic Brooklyn, New York, New York 1976–present ABAdouble-dagger
Charlotte Hornets (19882002, 2014–present)
Charlotte Bobcats (20042014)
Southeast Charlotte, North Carolina 19881989, 19902002, 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 19671970, 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 19681970, 1980–present Western Conference
New York Knicks Atlantic Manhattan, New York, New York 1946–present
Orlando Magic Southeast Orlando, Florida 19891990, 1991–present dagger
Philadelphia 76ers (1963–present)
Syracuse Nationals (19491963)
Atlantic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1949–present —*
Toronto Raptors Atlantic Toronto, Ontario 1995–present dagger
Washington Wizards (1997–present)
Washington Bullets (19741997)
Capital Bullets (19731974)
Baltimore Bullets (19631973)
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
1948
Western Division 1947
1951[2]
Western Division
defunct
defunct
Notes

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

Bold indicates winning team of the BAA Finals or NBA Finals

Year Team Finals result
1947 Philadelphia Warriors Won BAA Finals 4-1
1948 Philadelphia Warriors Lost BAA Finals 2-4
1949 Washington Capitols Lost BAA Finals 2-4
1950 Syracuse Nationals Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1951 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 3-4
1952 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 3-4
1953 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 1-4
1954 Syracuse Nationals Lost NBA Finals 3-4
1955 Syracuse Nationals Won NBA Finals 4-3
1956 Philadelphia Warriors Won NBA Finals 4-1
1957 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1958 Boston Celtics Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1959 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-0
1960 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1961 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-1
1962 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1963 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
1964 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-1
1965 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-1
1966 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1967 Philadelphia 76ers Won NBA Finals 4-2
1968 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
1969 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1970 New York Knicks Won NBA Finals 4-3
1971 Baltimore Bullets Lost NBA Finals 0-4
1972 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 1-4
1973 New York Knicks Won NBA Finals 4-1
1974 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1975 Washington Bullets Lost NBA Finals 0-4
1976 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
1977 Philadelphia 76ers Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1978 Washington Bullets Won NBA Finals 4-3
1979 Washington Bullets Lost NBA Finals 1-4
1980 Philadelphia 76ers Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1981 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
1982 Philadelphia 76ers Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1983 Philadelphia 76ers Won NBA Finals 4-0
1984 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-3
1985 Boston Celtics Lost NBA Finals 4-2
1986 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
1987 Boston Celtics Lost NBA Finals 2-4
1988 Detroit Pistons Lost NBA Finals 4-3
1989 Detroit Pistons Won NBA Finals 4-0
1990 Detroit Pistons Won NBA Finals 4-1
1991 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-1
1992 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-2
1993 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-2
1994 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 3-4
1995 Orlando Magic Lost NBA Finals 0-4
1996 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-2
1997 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-2
1998 Chicago Bulls Won NBA Finals 4-2
1999 New York Knicks Lost NBA Finals 1-4
2000 Indiana Pacers Lost NBA Finals 2-4
2001 Philadelphia 76ers Lost NBA Finals 1-4
2002 New Jersey Nets Lost NBA Finals 0-4
2003 New Jersey Nets Lost NBA Finals 2-4
2004 Detroit Pistons Won NBA Finals 4-1
2005 Detroit Pistons Lost NBA Finals 3-4
2006 Miami Heat Won NBA Finals 4-2
2007 Cleveland Cavaliers Lost NBA Finals 0-4
2008 Boston Celtics Won NBA Finals 4-2
2009 Orlando Magic Lost NBA Finals 1-4
2010 Boston Celtics Lost NBA Finals 3-4
2011 Miami Heat Lost NBA Finals 2-4
2012 Miami Heat Won NBA Finals 4-1
2013 Miami Heat Won NBA Finals 4-3
2014 Miami Heat Lost NBA Finals 1-4
2015 Cleveland Cavaliers Lost NBA Finals 2-4

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

Season results[edit]

Legend
^ 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