Celtics, Pistons, Magic: The Real Big Three
I'm not referring to the three all-star-calliber superstars who lace 'em up for Doc Rivers. No, the big three I speak of is different.
With everybody talking about the Western Conference, which consists of about 10 teams that only will fall short of 60-win seasons this year because they have to play each other, a few teams have fallen under the radar.
As I listen to everyone talk about how good the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and even the Portland Trail Blazers are, I cannot help but wonder:
How a team with an .804 win percentage and three All-Stars can be underrated.
How a team that just rattled off 10 straight wins, while outscoring opponents by 10.6 a night, can have done so quietly.
How a team can have a roster spot taken by a 6-11 265-pound version of Superman and not be considered one of the best.
I've heard the Western Conference referred to as the "Bestern Conference." However, the East boasts three teams which have a legitimate chance to dethrone any team in the West...
Boston's pickups of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen brought much anticipation to fans throughout New England and have helped the team compile a league-leading 41-10 record thus far.
Better still, they are 16-1 against the West! That is an astonishing stat. The conference which is supposed to be superior has managed to combine for just one victory against the best the East has to offer.
The Celtics have already managed to lock up a winning record despite playing through injuries to Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett much in thanks to the elevated play of the role players like former LSU Tiger Glen "Big Baby" Davis and starting point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Celtics have dominated the NBA thus far and I see no reason to predict anything different for the rest of the season or in the playoffs.
Detroit is another legitimate title contender playing in the East.
Chauncey Billups, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Tayshawn Prince, Antonio McDyess, and Rasheed Wallace round out the league's best starting five.
Many would argue that a great starting five is only as good as the play of its bench.
Due to great coaching by Flip Saunders and unbelievable depth, no Detroit player is averaging more than 35 minutes a game. A lot of talent and experience in the starting five, and trust in a deep bench sounds like a championship formula, and Detroit has been there before.
Western Conference teams definitely shouldn't overlook this great Pistons team.
Orlando's Dwight Howard has quickly developed into the best center in the NBA.
He is easily leading the league in dunks and rebounds at the break. He is one of just five players in the league averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a night.
Hedo Turkoglu is becoming a star in the NBA and has made several game-clinching clutch shots this season.
Jameer Nelson, Carlos Arroyo, and Rashard Lewis are a few more good players on this excellent eastern conference team.
While I cannot argue that the west is very good, and very deep, I have to believe that many people will be surprised at the competition it will face in the NBA Finals against either one of the "Big Three".
Whoever represents the east in the Finals this June, the so-called "Bestern Conference" had better not overlook the title as a foregone conclusion. There are three eastern teams who will have something to say about it if they do.
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