LOS ANGELES — With 10 games to play in the regular season, where the 76ers will land in the top four of the Eastern Conference playoff standings is still up in the air.

Because the No. 1 seed is back up for grabs.

The Miami Heat took a three-game lead for first in the East when they beat the Sixers at home less than three weeks ago. But two consecutive Heat losses this week — including to a shorthanded Sixers squad on Monday and against Golden State in a game marked by a public confrontation between coach Erik Spoelstra and star (and former Sixer) Jimmy Butler — have the Sixers (45-27), Milwaukee Bucks (45-27) and Boston Celtics (46-28) all 1½ games back of that top spot entering Thursday.

The Celtics had won five games in a row and 23 of their past 27 entering Thursday to surge up the standings, while the defending-champion Bucks had won nine of their past 11 games entering Thursday and are now healthy with the return of defensive anchor Brook Lopez.

Though there is now separation between the East’s top four teams and the remaining playoff hopefuls, logjams within those lower-seeded teams also make it difficult to project who the Sixers could face in the playoffs’ first round.

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Entering Thursday, two games separated the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls (42-30), sixth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers (41-31) and seventh-seeded Toronto Raptors (40-32). Two games also separated the eighth-seeded Brooklyn Nets (38-35), ninth-seeded Charlotte Hornets (37-36) and 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks (36-37). Finishing sixth or higher means avoiding the play-in tournament, while finishing seventh or eighth would only require one play-in victory to advance to the postseason’s first round.

Sixers star James Harden said it would be “great” for his team to land the top seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. But the bigger priority is that the Sixers are “healthy and playing well” as they continue their condensed adjustment period since Harden arrived in the blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Sixers are 10-3 since the All-Star break, and 9-2 in the games when Harden has played.

“We’ll face anybody,” Harden said.

Harris ‘excited’ about defensive responsibility

Tobias Harris’ offensive role has been affected the most since Harden joined the Sixers. But he has embraced focusing more on “defending my tail off,” an effort applauded by Rivers multiple times in recent weeks.

Harris said he has improved his lateral quickness to stay in front of guards, while also using his size and strength to his advantage. His recent defensive assignments have ranged from MVP contender DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls to sixth-man sparkplug Caris Levert of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I’m excited to go out there and see the levels that I can get to defensively for this group,” Harris said after Wednesday’s win over the Lakers. “It’s been pretty fun to do. … Some of the small guards trying to iso, I look forward to that challenge and that opportunity.”

Rivers did add that Wednesday was Harris’ best game playing off Harden and star center Joel Embiid. Harris scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and added five assists. The coach and Harris recently had a chat about “just letting it come” offensively.

“When you’re just patient,” Rivers said, “if you find the right open spots with Joel and James on the floor, you’re just gonna get a plethora of shots.”

And now, a toothache

Embiid sat down for Wednesday’s postgame news conference with a large bottle of water. When asked if he would attempt to chug it — mirroring when a bewildered Harden looked on as Embiid downed a full bottle before a postgame news conference a few weeks ago — the All-Star big man declined.

Embiid’s reasoning: His tooth was “kind of sensitive right now” after getting popped in the face during Sunday’s loss to Toronto. He went straight to the team dentist after the game, but did not need to get the tooth replaced.

“They just moved it back into place,” Embiid said. “I was lucky it didn’t pop out.”

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It was the latest in a series of minor injuries that Embiid has mostly played through during an MVP-caliber season anchored by durability. After playing in 41 of 42 games starting in mid-December, he sat out Monday’s win over Miami to rest a sore back stemming from a hard fall he took in a March 14 loss to Denver. He has also managed a hand issue within the past month, and a knee injury near the beginning of the season.

“I’m healthy,” Embiid said. “Just got to keep pushing, I guess. It happens. I’ve been saying it the past few days, you’re at that point of the season where you got to keep pushing.”