NBA Playoffs 2021: Philadelphia 76ers standings, odds, scenarios

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Staff
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76ers playoff picture: Where Sixers stand in tight East race originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers were the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Allen Iverson was in the prime of his career.

That was during the 2000-2001 season when AI led the Sixers to the NBA Finals. What better way for the Sixers to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of that season than by finishing at the top of the East once again? And perhaps by making another run to the Finals.

They are in position to do so, sitting atop the conference with less than a month remaining in the regular season. But there's still work to be done with the Sixers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks uncomfortably close in the standings.

Here's what you need to know about the Sixers' quest for the top seed and a deep playoff run.

What is the format for the 2021 NBA Playoffs?

This year's playoffs feature a new wrinkle: the NBA Play-In Tournament. Here's how it works: The No. 7 through No. 10 seeds in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference, respectively, qualify for the Play-In Tournament.

The tournament begins May 18 and consists of two rounds for each conference with the following format: 

Round 1

No. 7 seed vs. No. 8 seed (winner earns No. 7 seed; loser to Round 2)

No. 9 seed vs. No. 10 seed (winner to Round 2; loser eliminated)

Round 2

Loser of 7-8 vs. Winner of 9-10 (winner earns No. 8 seed; loser eliminated)

Once the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds are decided for each conference, the first round will begin May 22 with the traditional format: seven-game series featuring the 1-8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5 matchups.

Where are the Sixers in the Eastern Conference standings?

The 40-21 Sixers, after dropping four straight games for the first time this season before Monday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, now sit one game behind the Nets. Philadelphia -- having won the season series against the Nets 2-1 -- owns the tiebreaker over Brooklyn. The Bucks closed the gap on the Sixers by sweeping their recent two-game set against them, making this a three-team race for the top seed heading down the home stretch. 


GB From No. 1

1. Brooklyn Nets


2. Philadelphia 76ers


3. Milwaukee Bucks


4. New York Knicks


5. Atlanta Hawks


6. Boston Celtics



Who would the Sixers play in the first round?

In a traditional season, the second-seeded Sixers would take on the seventh-seeded Miami Heat. That won't necessarily be the case this season with a Play-In Tournament being held to determine the seventh and eighth seeds.

If the season ended today, the Heat would play the Hornets to determine the seventh seed. The winner of that game would take on the Sixers.

If the Heat and Hornets manage to hold onto their respective seeds in the Play-In Tournament, here is what the East matchups currently would look like:

No. 1  Brooklyn Nets

No. 8 Charlotte Hornets

No. 2 Philadelphia 76ers

No. 7 Miami Heat

No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks

No. 6 Boston Celtics

No. 4 New York Knicks

No. 5 Atlanta Hawks


What is the Sixers' remaining schedule?

The Sixers have 11 regular-season games left, with two games remaining on their three-game homestand.

According to Tankathon, the Sixers have the easiest strength of schedule remaining (.412), with layups against tanking teams like Houston, Detroit and a season-ending two-game set at home against Orlando. As for their opponents in the race for the top seed, the Nets have the 13th-toughest strength of schedule (.508) and the Bucks have the 26th toughest (.453).

Here are the Sixers' next five games:

Wednesday, April 28

vs. Hawks

Friday, April 30

vs. Hawks

Sunday, May 2

at Spurs

Monday, May 3

at Bulls

Wednesday, May 5

at Rockets


What are the Sixers' playoff odds?

Joel Embiid and the Sixers currently have +1200 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.

Only five teams in the league have better odds of winning the title: the Nets at +225, the Lakers at +350, the Clippers at +500, the Bucks at +650 and the Jazz at +800.

We'll update this article as the postseason nears, so stay tuned for the latest on the Sixers' playoff chances.

PointsBet is NBC Sports' official sports betting partner. We may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Mike Gavin contributed to this story.