Monday, December 29, 2008

The East is in the House 08'

As of 12/24/08 the Boston Celtics were riding higher than any other team and Santa Claus as they held a 19 game consecutive win streak. Christmas day arrives and Kobe Bryant's Lakers put a prompt end to that with a 9 point victory in Los Angeles. That loss may have been acceptable and expected by many, but then the Celtics lost 2 straight after Friday night's loss to a hungry Golden State Warriors squad.

So from a 19 game win streak to their first 2 game losing streak all season? It's indeed a curious case like Benjamin Button, but quite possibly the 2nd game came as a result of the first loss. Possibly the "oomph" was taken out from under them. The team was suddenly beatable and all other NBA teams took notice that it was possible to defeat the Celtics. After all the Pacers were one of the teams to do it, a team not many expect to be much of a challenger in the Eastern Conference. Stephen Jackson came up big for his Golden State Warriors to help bury the Celtics, possibly sensing a wounded squad after the Lakers loss. The Celtics are still the best there is in the league, but definitely have showed they are far from those 72-10 invinci-Bulls of yesteryear.

While the Celtics managed to gain a win on Sunday night, two other teams in the East are red hot right now. The Magic have won 7 straight games thanks to the inside-outside attack of Dwight Howard & Rashard Lewis. Add in sharpshooter Hedo Turkoglu and floor leader Jameer Nelson and this squad is one of the top 4 record-wise in the league, defeating the likes of New Orleans. The Cavs are on a 6 game win streak, behind the always-inspired King James & company.

Eastern Conference Top 8 (with Games Back):

1. * Boston --
2. * Cleveland 1.0
3. * Orlando 3.0
4. Atlanta 7.5
5. Detroit 9.0
6. Miami 10.5
7. New Jersey 12.0
8. Milwaukee 13.5

* Leads division

That said the Celtics (28-4), Cavs (26-4) and Magic (24-6) would be in the Top 4 in the West right now in terms of records along with the Lakers. Two other teams, the Pistons and Hawks look to be dangerous competitors come playoff time. It's great to see what looks like some sort of a power-shift to the East side after so many years of razzing that "the West is best". Then again the Celtics & Magic both sport former West coast stars in Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen & Kevin Garnett...

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