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10. Indiana Pacers(15-9)
The Pacers are continuing an impressive start to the season, nearly doubling the amount of wins to losses. They are winners in eight of their last ten games and are averaging 109.2 points per game. While they lost to the Clippers tonight, Indiana is still a team that can be a threat to Toronto and Milwaukee later on in the season.
9. Toronto Raptors(15-7)
The Raptors take the biggest dive in the rankings as they are currently riding a three-game losing streak. While they came up short to good teams, Toronto still needs to answer the question as to who will be the number two guy if Pascal Siakam has an off night.
8. Houston Rockets(15-7)
Here’s the thing about the Rockets: they are good in the regular season but their inefficiency is the downfall of this franchise every time they reach the postseason. James Harden is no different than he has been the last three years and Russell Westbrook is currently having the worst year of his NBA career. Sell your Rockets stock now while it’s still valuable.
7. Philadelphia 76ers(17-7)
Philly is beginning to figure things out after a confusing start to the season. They are 8-2 in their last ten games and are winners of two straight. They boast the fourth-best defense in the league but the offense still needs to find their footing. They have a tough slate of games this week that includes Denver tomorrow and a trip to Boston on Thursday.
6. Miami Heat(17-6)
The reason I dropped the Heat is simply for the fact that I do not buy them as a legit contender in the East. They can win these one-off games against Boston and Milwaukee but over a seven-game series? Yeah, good luck convincing me on that. This is not a deep roster but they are good enough to where they can get to the second round of the East playoffs and fall to one of Boston, Milwaukee, or even Toronto. Fun team to watch but not a type of team that can win those monumental games yet.
5. Dallas Mavericks(16-7)
The Mavs were on a five-game winning streak before falling to the….Kings??? No need to worry for Dallas for the moment being. However, Luka Doncic is not going to be able to keep this monstrous pace going for an 82-game season. Kristaps Porzingis has been a great second option but Dallas is going to need to get another efficient scoring wing to take just some pressure off of Doncic.
4. Boston Celtics(17-5)
If I was not from the West Coast, this year’s Celtics team would probably be the team I’d support because of how scrappy and gritty they are on the defensive side of the ball. They have held their last three opponents to under 100 points, which included the Heat and Denver Nuggets. Jayson Tatum is one of the brightest young players in the league and is complemented by a elite point guard Kemba Walker and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Marcus Smart. Boston is dangerous and will be a must-watch team all season long.
3. Los Angeles Lakers(21-3)
The Lakers are a top-ten offensive and top-five defensive team in the league thanks to, you guessed it, Anthony Davis and LeBron James. However, outside of a very low-scoring Denver Nuggets team, the Lakers are not fooling anyone with their recent wins. Minnesota? Portland? Washington? Utah? Come on man, calling the Lakers the best team in the NBA is like saying that the Ohio State Buckeyes should have been the number one team over the LSU Tigers; it just ain’t true.
2. Los Angeles Clippers(18-7)
The loss to Milwaukee was quite alarming but the Bucks very well could break every record possible. That team is running wild right now with no end in sight. The Clippers are back to their winning ways after beating the Wizards on Sunday and picking up an impressive win in Indiana earlier this evening. The Clippers six-game road stand continues with a huge game in Toronto on Wednesday night, Minnesota on Friday, and it will wrap up in Chicago on Saturday night.
1. Milwaukee Bucks(20-3)
If I am handing any team the Larry O’Brien Trophy right now, it is the Bucks. The top offensive team in the league that is countered with the tenth-best defense in the league, Milwaukee is on one of the hottest stretches in recent NBA history, boasting a 14-game winning streak that includes wins against Indiana, Utah, and a blowout win over the Clippers last Friday night. Another crazy stat about this team is that they have not been held under 100 points in any of their 23 games so far. The closest they have come was a loss to Utah back on Nov. 8 when they only scored 100 points. Good luck to any team that wants to challenge Milwaukee right now.