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Who will the Cavs face in the first round of this year's playoffs?

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Tonight, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will close out their regular season campaign with a matchup against the Toronto Raptors inside Quicken Loans Arena at 8:00 p.m. EST.

With the Boston Celtics leading the Eastern Conference standings by one full game, the Cavs will need a little help if they are to win the No. 1 seed in the East for this year’s playoff run.

The Celtics will host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight inside TD Garden. According to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com, the Bucks have already elected to rest several of their key players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Matthew Dellavedova, and Chris Middleton. The Celtics, on the other hand, will play all of their starters. With a win tonight, the C’s would be crowned this season’s Eastern Conference champion.

As for the Cavs, head coach Tyronn Lue has made the decision to rest LeBron James and Kyrie Irving against the Raptors, favoring health over playoff seeding. Tristan Thompson could also be held out of tonight’s game due to the sprained thumb he has been dealing with for a week, but he’s listed as probable.

With a win tonight¬†AND a Celtics loss, the Cavs would clinch the No. 1 seed in the East, but who would their opponent be in the first round of the playoffs? The answer is: we don’t know yet. Let’s take a look at the different scenarios…

Whether the Cavs manage to claim the No. 1 seed in the East or not, their opponent in the first round of the playoffs will be one of three teams: the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, or Miami Heat.

Here’s how the season series between the three teams finished:

Bulls…
– tied season-series with Pacers, 2-2
– won season series with Heat, 2-1.

Pacers…
– lost season-series with Heat, 1-2
– tied season-series with Bulls, 2-2

Heat…
– won season-series with Pacers, 2-1
– lost season-series to Bulls, 1-2

The Pacers will host a resting Atlanta Hawks team tonight 8:00 p.m. EST inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. If the Pacers intend on making the playoffs, they’ll need a few things to happen in their favor. According to ESPN Stats and Information, there are a few scenarios in which the Pacers could clinch a playoff spot:

#7 – If they win
#7 – If they lose but the Heat and Bulls both lose
#8 – If they lose and either Bulls or Heat win (but not both)
Eliminated – If they lose and both the Bulls and Heat win

The Bulls, who host the Brooklyn Nets tonight inside The United Center at 8:00 p.m. EST, have a shot at the No. 7 seed in the East. According to their official Twitter account statement, the Nets will rest six of their players in tonight’s game. That leaves an open door for the playoff-aspiring Bulls. Here is a look at Chicago’s possible seeding results:

#7 – If they win and Pacers lose
#8 – If they and Pacers both win
#8 – If they and Heat both lose
Eliminated – If they lose and the Heat win

The Heat will close out their regular season campaign with a home game against the Washington Wizards, who are not resting any players, at 8:00 p.m. EST. Let’s take a look at what the Heat needs to claim a seed in this year’s playoffs.

#7 – If they win and Pacers + Bulls both lose
#8 – If they and Pacers win + Bulls lose
#8 – If they and Bulls win + Pacers lose
Eliminated – If they lose
Eliminated – If Bulls and Pacers win

The outcome of tonight’s games will determine the fates of playoff-contending teams. It’s time to put up or shut up, as they say.

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