When the 2022 NBA season ended, the Miami Heat had the best record in the Eastern Conference at 53-29. Three other teams trailed Miami with identical records of 51-31. Those clubs were the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. When the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs came to an end, it was the Boston Celtics who represented the East in the NBA Finals.
Boston had a solid run through the Eastern Conference postseason. The team swept the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. After that, the Celtics dispatched the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the second round. Boston then downed the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat in another seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals. Finally, the Celtics made a valiant effort in the NBA Finals, but the team fell to the more experienced Golden State Warriors in six games.
Despite a tumultuous off-season, the Boston Celtics are the only NBA team with a winning percentage over .700 as the calendar turns to 2023. With that, the Celtics are the favorite to win the NBA’s Eastern Conference in 2023.
Before we look at the Celtics and the other teams who will contend for the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Championship, check out our guide to betting on the 2023 NBA Finals and our tips for betting on the NBA.
2023 NBA Eastern Conference Championship picks
|To Win NBA Eastern Conference 2023|
|New York Knicks||+8500||+6500||+8000||+8000|
The Boston Celtics are playing fantastic team basketball as the halfway point of the 2023 NBA season approaches. The team has the best record in the NBA at 26-10. The team has the second-best home record in the East at 15-5 and their road record of 11-5 is the second-best away record in the conference. Further, the Celtics have averaged an NBA-best 118.8 points per game and a plus 6.7 points per game differential – which also leads the league.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been a formidable offensive duo this year. Tatum leads the Celtics with 31 points per game and 8.1 rebounds on 36.9 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Brown, who averages 35.8 minutes per game, is contributing 27 points per game and 7.2 rebounds. As for defense, Marcus Smart is leading the way with 7.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 11.5 points on 33.2 minutes per game. Further, Malcolm Brogdon, who joined the Celtics via a trade with the Indiana Pacers in July, is fitting in well. Brogdon has averaged 13.3 points per game while coming off the bench for 23.5 minutes per game.
The 2021 NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, are the third-place team in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-12. Milwaukee has an outstanding home record of 15-3, but the team has not played well on the road, where they are 8-9. Also, the team’s 4-3 division record leaves a bit to be desired. The Bucks are averaging 112.9 points per game and have a plus 2.4 differential on the season. Milwaukee wrapped up 2022 on a 1-4 run. The team’s four-game losing skid during that stretch was the first time the Bucks dropped more than two consecutive games during the 2023 NBA season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the player who will determine how far Milwaukee goes in 2023. Giannis leads the team in points (32.1), rebounds (11.8) and minutes per game at 33.7. Jrue Holiday is second on the team in scoring with 18.9 points. He leads the Bucks in assists (7.5) and steals (1.5).
The Brooklyn Nets were one of the favorites to win the 2022 NBA championship for most of the season, but the club struggled during the season and the playoffs. It seems the Nets have put last year behind them. Brooklyn is currently the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record, which puts them two games behind the Celtics. The Nets are 12-5 at home and 12-7 on the road. Brooklyn’s point differential on the 2023 NBA season is plus 3.5.
If there is a team who is red hot heading into 2023, it is the Nets. Brooklyn finished 2022 with 11 straight wins. The team is 15-1 dating back to November 27.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are playing well this year. Durant leads the team with 29.7 points per game, while Irving has 26.2. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons, who joined the Nets via a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers last year, leads the team in assists (5.8) and steals (1.3) while contributing 8.1 points per game. Nic Claxton is also scoring more than 10 points per game this year (12.0).
Boston had a great run last year and is playing with something to prove in the 2023 NBA season. Brooklyn did not have a good year in 2022. They too are playing with something to prove in 2023. I think the best bet to win the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference is the Boston Celtics, as they have been more consistent. However, there is value in picking the Brooklyn Nets, who are on fantastic run heading into the halfway point of the 2023 NBA season.
Pick: Boston Celtics to win the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Championship.
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