Seven teams in the East are looking for a spot in the playoffs, but there are only four spots available. The margins between them are so small that anything from an injury to an untimely suspension could sway the race. It could be the most interesting end of the regular season in the league's history. The "season as a marathon" analogy no longer applies. It is now a sprint to the finish. Let's see how that sprint looks like for all playoff battling teams.

Currently in a playoff position

No.5 - Milwaukee Bucks (40-38)

Coach Kidd has been doing some great job in Milwaukee without Jabari Parker – his first scoring option.

The Bucks are looking very comfortable on the standings, ahead of their last four games of the season. They are two and a half wins above the playoff line, so they need only two more victories to secure a spot in the playoffs. In most combinations - just one win should be enough, so it would be pretty surprising if they don't make it to the postseason.

Schedule: at Indiana, at Philadelphia, vs Charlotte, at Boston.

No. 6 - Atlanta Hawks (39-38)

The Hawks have been struggling lately, and the main reason for that was the absence of their biggest star - Paul Millsap. He is now back with the squad, and that should come as a big relief to Hawks coach Budenholzer. The team needs three more wins in order to be safe, but as mentioned before, it is most likely that two more wins would do it.

Two wins may seem easy to accomplish - but after taking a better look at ther schedule - I wouldn't be so sure on that.

Schedule: vs Boston, at Cleveland, vs Cleveland, vs Charlotte, at Indiana

No. 7 - Chicago Bulls (38-40)

The Bulls have had troubles with their consistency for the most part of the season.

With Dwayne Wade's latest injury, the team from Windy City doesn't seem to be in an ideal situation. But, their playoff spot shouldn't be questionable, as they have the easiest schedule of all the teams battling to reach the playoffs in the East. Although, they lost an "easy one" last night by the huge margin against the New York Knicks.

Winning two games is the priority for the Bulls.

Schedule: at Philadelphia, at Brooklyn, vs Orlando, vs Brooklyn

No.8 - Indiana Pacers (38-40)

The Indiana Pacers grabbed a big win last night, so they jumped to the 8th spot. Their schedule is decent, but should they have the same record as Miami, they are out, because of their "head-to-head" record against the Heat (1-2). Winning two out of four could be enough, specially if one of those is against Atlanta.

Schedule: vs Milwaukee, at Orlando, at Philadelphia, vs Atlanta

Under the line

No. 9 - Miami Heat (37-40)

Even though the Miami Heat is ninth in the East and battling hard to reach the playoffs - their coach Eric Spoelstra is in the conversation for the ''Coach of the Year Award.'' After a terrible start to the season, the Heat have found their rhytm since, and step by step, found themselves in a position to think about playing basketball in the upcoming postseason.

Should they reach the playoffs, that would be one of the biggest accomplishments in the NBA history, considering that they've had a 11-30 record after 41 games played. They could win just one game and reach the postseason - but that is an unlikely scenario. Three wins should do it for Miami, but they have a tough schedule in front of them.

Schedule: at Charlotte, at Toronto, at Washington, vs Cleveland, vs Washington

No. 10 - Charlotte Hornets (36-42)

Well, 41 is the magic number, but it's impossible for the Hornets, due to their record. Although, if they win all 3 games against their playoff concurrents, that could be huge for them. That's an optimistic scenario, but not an unreal one.

Schedule: vs Miami, vs Boston, at Milwaukee, at Atlanta

No 11.

- Detroit Pistons (35-42)

Obviously, this is the toughest position to be in. Detroit's schedule doesn't look easy at all, but if they, somehow, can win four out of five, they have a shot.

Schedule: vs Toronto, at Houston, at Memphis, vs Washington, at Orlando

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