Now that the NBA season has passed the halfway mark, we have a greater understanding of how teams will perform during the remaining months leading up to the playoffs, expect the Lakers, who know’s what they’ll end up doing.
The Knicks and Nets, who we cover extensively on Empire Writes Back, will both be fighting for a high playoff seed as we get into the important part of the season. With New York (25-14) slowing down in recent weeks, and Brooklyn (25-16) picking things up, to say that the battle between the top Eastern Conference teams will be interesting is certainly an understatement.
They faced each other for the final time on Monday, with the Nets prevailing in another physical matchup. Since the departure of Avery Johnson, Brooklyn have won eleven of their past thirteen games and look like a contender, rather than the Nets of old. Before the season I had the Knicks (4th seed) and Nets (5th seed) going head to head in the first round of the playoffs. While that is unlikely to happen, a second round matchup is possible.
With Iman Shumpert back in the lineup and Raymond Felton returning soon, the Knicks are getting healthy at the right time. Though after their sensational start to the season, New York’s come back down to Earth, losing four of their past six games. Getting their starting point guard back in the next week will be crucial, as their Atlantic Division lead has been cut to a single game.
Despite some early problems, Miami’s the best team in the Eastern Conference and not many people will dispute it. With Boston continuing to struggle, New York has a chance before the All-Star break to build a strong advantage over their rivals in green. As for Brooklyn, who are finally playing like most people expected them to, they’ll certainly be in the running for a top two finish in the East, but when it’s all said and done, will end up with a fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs. Chicago and Indiana will challenge them for a top four finish, especially with Rose returning next month for the Bulls.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and tell us how you think the Eastern Conference standings will look at the end of the season.