Toronto's tumble in March, coinciding with a knee injury to Chris Bosh, brought it back to the pack. Washington has a three-game losing streak but the first two were at the tail end of a West Coast trip. The Sixers are playing better than either of those teams and now tied with them for the fifth-best record.
Suddenly jumping into the picture is eighth-seed Atlanta, which has won five straight and need only catch one of the above to play the Pistons instead of the Celtics in the first round.
The Sixers and Hawks play a home-and-home this weekend; Otherwise, the Hawks have a soft road schedule the rest of the way (Indiana, New York, Miami).
The Raptors' entire remaining schedule, except for a road game at The Palace, is extremely squishy. They've got 2 vs. New Jersey and singles vs. Charlotte, Milwaukee, Miami and Chicago.
With games vs. the Eastern Conference's top 3 - Boston, Detroit and Orlando - Washington has the toughest remaining road. The Sixers still have to play the Pistons and Cavs. The Wiz and Sixers also have a biggie against each other on the 12th.
Bottom line: The Pistons may not know who they're playing until the regular season shuts down on the 16th.