The Eastern Conference playoff race is heating up, with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Indiana Pacers all tied for the seventh spot with identical 38-40 records. With just four games left in the season, the race for eighth in the East is going to come down to the wire. The question is, who will get in?

Chicago Bulls schedule breakdown

The Chicago Bulls, who own the tiebreaker between the three, have the easiest remaining schedule. They play the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday evening, Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Orlando Magic on Monday, and conclude the season playing the Nets again.

Those opponents are bottom three in the conference, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Bulls to defeat them.

In fact, the Bulls shouldn’t lose another game to finish out the season. Although they have had surprising losses to mediocre teams, Chicago will play with tremendous desperation to win those four games, especially since they will have Dwyane Wade back on Saturday.

Miami Heat schedule breakdown

The Miami Heat own the tiebreaker over the Pacers only, which gives them somewhat of an advantage. However, their schedule is the toughest out of the three. The surging Heat will have to play the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Washington Wizards on Saturday, Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, and Wizards again in the final game.

Miami’s brutal remaining schedule could have them go 0-4 to conclude the season. They certainly need Dion Waiters back in the lineup to have a realistic shot at winning some of those games.

The only thing that can save Miami is if those teams decide to rest players, which could be likely for a team like the Cavaliers. Otherwise, the Heat are in trouble.

Indiana Pacers schedule breakdown

The Indiana Pacers have a fairly easy schedule but don’t own the tiebreaker over the Bulls or Heat. Indiana plays the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Orlando Magic on Saturday, Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, and Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to close the season.

Thankfully, against the two playoff teams, the Hawks and Bucks, the Pacers will play on their home court. Against the two mediocre teams, the Pacers will be on the road. The schedule works out for them beautifully; they would just have to avoid any late-season upsets.

Examining the schedules of the Bulls, Heat, and Pacers, it would seem that Chicago and Indiana have the best odds of securing a playoff spot.

The Heat’s schedule is just too tough for them to overcome, especially if Waiters is going to miss more time.

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