In the East there are two legitimate title-contenders: the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. The Toronto Raptors are a nice story, and the Brooklyn Nets could win a game or two in a playoff series against one of these teams, but neither is going to disrupt the simple truth: barring a major injury Indiana and Miami will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Regardless of Dwayne Wade's health, or who has the #1 seed, these two teams are a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals.
And no one's even that close. The #3 Raptors are a whopping 10 games back from Miami. Besides Indiana and Miami there are only two other teams in the East with a winning record [Toronto and Chicago.] It is possibly the worst East of All-Time.
So we know who the final two teams will be but who will win? Well, if Dwayne Wade is "fully" healthy I'd say the Heat, but if Wade is not healthy then I'd have to lean toward Indiana. But I also think a crucial factor in determining who will win and advance to the Finals is who gets the #1 seed and thus home-field advantage in a series that will likely go to seven games. In Game 7's of an NBA playoff series, the home team almost always wins.
Although it looked as if the Pacers had the East's #1 seed locked up at midseason, Miami has really come on since the All-Star break cutting down Indiana's lead to 1.5 games. It'll be interesting to see who ends up snagging the coveted seeding.
And until we see who ends up getting the #1 seed, and the status of Dwayne Wade's knees, it's difficult to project which team will have the upper-hand in June.