InsideHoops.com ran a poll for the last week asking fans to pick the eight Eastern conference teams they feel will make the playoffs in 2008-09.

The voting for the first four teams was pretty close, with the Celtics (592 votes), Cavaliers (588), Pistons (582) and Magic (578) taking the home-court seeds.

The Raptors (504) came in 5th, though from our experience Toronto fans, being very enthusiastic, tend to bump their team up slightly higher than tends to be expected. Though, if new Raptor Jermaine O’Neal can stay healthy and play anything like his old former All-Star self, this is a very reasonable prediction.

One vote later, coming in 6th, was the 76ers (503), who played better than expected last season and now add star power forward Elton Brand, who is returning from injury, to their mix.

The Wizards (459) came in 7th. They welcome a healthy Gilbert Arenas back.

And now, a dropoff.

Fans feel that last year’s #8 seed, the Hawks, won’t do as well in 2008-09. Rather than pick them to return to the playoffs, fans went with the Heat (294 votes). This is reasonable. Miami welcomes a healthy Dwayne Wade back, alongside Shawn Marion, who needs a contract, and superkid rookie Michael Beasley. The supporting cast is still weak, but slightly improved from last year.

The Bulls (195) finished 9th, just outside the playoff seedings. The Hawks (180) were 10th.

Here are the complete final results:

1) Celtics 592 votes
2) Cavs 588 votes
3) Pistons 582 votes
4) Magic 578 votes
5) Raptors 504 votes
6) Sixers 503 votes
7) Wizards 459 votes
8) Heat 294 votes

9) Bulls 195 votes
10) Hawks 180 votes
11) Bucks 83 votes
12) Nets 68 votes
13) Knicks 53 votes
14) Pacers 53 votes
15) Bobcats 43 votes