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2014-2015 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Based on my predictions for all 1,230 regular-season games for the 2014-2015 NBA season, here is my predicted order of finish for the Eastern Conference:

1. Chicago Bulls (60-22)

The return of Derrick Rose and the addition of Pau Gasol should help the Bulls address their shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (58-24)

LeBron James’ return will make Cleveland relevant in the Eastern Conference for the first time since James’ infamous departure back in 2010.

3. Brooklyn Nets (48-34)

Lionel Hollins, task master that he is, will get the most out of the Nets no matter how many games Brook Lopez misses or plays this season.

4. Miami Heat (46-36)

Despite the departure of LeBron James, Erik Spoelstra should be able to lead an experienced Heat squad with the likes of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade supported by Luol Deng and Danny Granger to a spot in the top four of the weak East.

5. Toronto Raptors (41-41)

After a surprising Atlantic Division title last season, opponents will pay a little bit more attention to the Raptors this season.

6. New York Knicks (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 29-23 in Conference

Although they will likely struggle early on and will probably have their ups and downs as they adjust to the triangle offense, the Knicks will probably get enough out of the Carmelo Anthony and company to squeak into the postseason.

7. Washington Wizards (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 28-24 in Conference

Can the Wizards, who remained relatively healthy—for them—last season, get another 155 games out of Bradley Beal and John Wall this season?  With Beal likely to miss the first few weeks of the season with a wrist injury, it seems unlikely.

8. Atlanta Hawks (39-43)

Atlanta has made the playoffs an Eastern Conference high seven straight times and despite a tumultuous offseason, the return of Al Horford should help the Hawks push that streak to eight.

9. Charlotte Hornets (37-45)

10. Detroit Pistons (30-52)

11. Indiana Pacers (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-19 against predicted playoff teams in East

12. Boston Celtics (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-20 against predicted playoff teams in East

13. Milwaukee Bucks (23-59)

14. Orlando Magic (20-62)

15. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64)

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