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 because 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-sseven.
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.
The Eastern Conference teams are organized as follows:
- Providence Steamrollers
- Toronto Huskies
- Washington Capitols
Relocated to Western Conference
- Buffalo Braves (moved to San Diego and became "Clippers", now the Los Angeles Clippers)
- Sacramento Kings(later the Kansas City -Omaha Kings, the Kansas City Kings, now the Sacramento Kings)
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- New Orleans Pelicans
- San Antonio Spurs
- Utah Jazz
Eastern Conference champions
See also: NBA Conference Finals:Eastern Conference was named Eastern Division until 1970
|*1947: Philadelphia Warriors
||*1968: Boston Celtics
||*1989: Detroit Pistons
||*2010: Boston Celtics
- NBA Champions in bold
List of Eastern Conference teams with the most conference championships
- 21: Boston Celtics
- 9: Philadelphia 76ers - Syracuse Nationals
- 8: New York Knicks
- 6: Chicago Bulls
- 5: Detroit Pistons
- 4: Miami Heat
- 4: Washington/Baltimore Bullets
- 3: Philadelphia Warriors
- 2: New Jersey Nets
- 2: Orlando Magic
- 1: Cleveland Cavalies
- 1: Indiana Pacers
- 1: Washington Capitols
Pages in category "Eastern Conference"
The following 15 pages are in this category, out of 15 total.