NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings update
The times they are changing, and the NBA’s Eastern Conference is turning over and changing with the times. Teams from the bottom half have moved solidly into the top three, and although they continue to win, the Miami Heat do not have the cushion they had in the first half of the season. There seem to be more than just one or two teams emerging that could give the Heat a run season, so let's look at the updated East standings and see if I have the teams similarly ranked.
- Miami Heat (29-13 SU, 21-21 ATS, 1st in East standings)
The Heat had an up-and-down last week, but they still sit atop the East with a 1 1/2 game cushion. Over the last week, the Heat have played in two overtime games, winning one and losing the other. Last night they had a huge win against the Brooklyn Nets, which most of us saw coming after the ignorant comments of Reggie Evans. However, even though they continue to win their lead in the Eastern conference is shrinking fast. With the exception of a trip to Indiana they don't have that many tough games within the next week, however right before and right after the All-Star break Miami has a stretch of about six very tough games in a row. They could be fade material coming soon.
- Chicago Bulls (28-17 SU, 18-27 ATS, 3rd in East standings)
Chicago ascended to the two spot in my power rankings last week, and it is looking more and more like they are in fact the second best team in the Eastern conference. The emergence of Jimmy Butler for this team has been like making a big trade without having to give anything up. Not to mention the fact that Derrick Rose just started taking full contact in practice. Even though Rose's return will be slow and likely off the bench, 20 minutes of Derrick Rose is still better than three out of every four NBA players. The Bulls have two, and arguably three All-Stars this year, and once all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, and if Rose is healthy towards the end of the regular season, watch out Lebron. I think Chicago might start evening out that awful ATS record of theirs soon and begin to beat the NBA odds. They started last night.
- New York Knicks (28-15 SU, 23-20 ATS, 2nd in East standings)
The Knicks went 3-1 SU since my last power rankings update, however they are sticking in the third spot for now. My main reasoning for this is that I think the Knicks have referred back to some of their old ways. They fall in love with the three-point shot even when it's not falling, and in some games their defense has been severely lacking. Carmelo Anthony is only one man, and if New York's three-point arsenal isn't on, that puts a ton of pressure on him. The Knicks and Bulls could very well be interchangeable in the two and three spots on my power rankings, but New York’s recent lack of defensive intensity is somewhat concerning. I think the Knicks might be fade material right now in certain cases.
- Brooklyn Nets (27-19 SU, 21-23-2 ATS, 4th in East standings)
Despite their ugly loss last night to Miami, the Nets hold down the fourth spot on my power rankings once again this week. Brooklyn has been playing very well since Avery Johnson fired, and I do not know if there is correlation in that or if it is just coincidence, but the fact remains that Brooklyn has finally emerged as one of the East’s best teams. Deron Williams is finally starting to look like himself once again, and that always leads to getting easier shots for the rest of Brooklyn's starters. They need to prove (much like the Knicks, Bulls and Heat have done already this season) that they can beat the NBA's best teams. If and/or when they do it, watch out and be ready with your NBA betting tickets.
- Indiana Pacers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics