The three division winners are seeded 1, 2 and 3 for the playoffs in order of their record, with all non-division winners seeded 4 through 8. This leaves open the possibility that a #4 seed could have a better record than a #3 seed. On the other hand, home-court advantage in a playoff series is decided by record, not by seeding, so if a #3 and #4 team met in a playoff series in which the #4 team had the better record, the #4 team would have home-court advantage.
The current divisional alignment was adopted at the start of the 2004-05 season, when the Charlotte Bobcats began play as the NBA's 30th franchise. This necessitated the move of the New Orleans Hornets from the Eastern Conference's Central Division to the newly-created Southwest Division of the Western Conference.
The Eastern Conference teams are organized as follows:
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