The 2020 Eastern Conference playoff matchups are set—and they're exactly the same as they would have been without bubble seeding games.
With the Indiana Pacers defeating the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, they have locked themselves into the 4-5 matchup with the Miami Heat and finalized the playoff field.
Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups
(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Orlando Magic
(4) Miami Heat vs. (5) Indiana Pacers*
(3) Boston Celtics vs. (6) Philadelphia 76ers
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Brooklyn Nets
*Indiana could pass Miami for the No. 4 seed, but they will be first-round opponents no matter what.
While the 3-6 matchup between the Sixers and Celtics is strongest in terms of rivalry and franchise cache, the intrigue took a significant hit with Ben Simmons likely out for the season with a knee injury. Simmons has a next-to-zero chance of being on the floor in the first round.
The Bucks and Raptors should stomp out their first-round opponents with ease—five games max in both cases—so Heat-Pacers may be the only series with seven-game potential. Indiana has fared well despite being without All-Star Domantas Sabonis thanks to Bubble MVP candidate T.J. Warren, who already has an existing rivalry with Heat star Jimmy Butler.
Warren is also not expected to miss time due to plantar fasciitis, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Coach Nate McMillan said Warren has been dealing with the issue all season.
Seven games of Warren vs. Butler could be worth the price of virtual admission alone. That said, if the East is going to produce a classic series, it will probably come in the second round or conference finals.