It is time to shine some light on the bottom dwellers of the Eastern Conference. These were the teams that fans forgot about. Everyone’s attention was on that exciting Playoff race out in the West, but that race is over now. The dust has finally settled, and we can review how or when these lowly teams from the East were eliminated from the Playoff field.
Elimination Date: Middle of February
The Pacers were like the Utah Jazz of the East. They had a fantastic start that was followed by a slow finish. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin was a bright spot, Tyrese Haliburton became an All-Star, and the team even stunned the Lakers with a buzzer-beating, game-winning shot. Everything was going well until that brutal stretch, from mid-January to mid-February, where the team lost 16 times in a span of 18 games. After that, the players never found their groove again.
Elimination Date: October 2022
During the preseason, LaMelo Ball suffered the first of many injuries that saw him miss half the season, but an even bigger story was making the headlines during that time. Miles Bridges, Charlotte’s leading scorer from the previous year, was expected to miss the 2022-23 NBA season because of his domestic violence charges. Without their top two players, the Hornets knew this would be a depressing season. They only won 27 games, and Michael Jordan even considered selling the team.
Elimination Date: March 31, 2023
When the Wizards lost to the Orlando Magic, they fell three games behind the Chicago Bulls for the last Play-In spot. The problem here was that they only had five games left. At this point in time, the Wizards were already resting their top three players. Without playing Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma for the last several games of their schedule, fans knew the Wizards were already waving the white flag.
Elimination Date: December 2022
In the middle of last December, Cade Cunningham decided to have season-ending surgery on his left leg. The Pistons only won eight out of their first 30 games, and losing their best player for the rest of the year would make it impossible to grab a postseason spot. The team would go on to have a tough year that saw them win a league-worst 17 games.
Elimination Date: April 4, 2023
The Magic were eliminated when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fans knew it would be rough when they had to fight two other teams just to grab the last spot. The squad from Orlando, along with the Pacers and the Wizards, was in a three-way battle trying to overtake the Bulls for tenth place in the East.
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