Boston has won its last two games to take its record to 11-4, and has now opened a 4.5 game lead over 7-9 Toronto in the Atlantic division.
Cleveland is 11-4 and on a three game winning streak. The Cavaliers have a two game lead over Milwaukee in the Central division, as the Bucks are now 8-5 after losing their last two.
Orlando had an up and down week after losing to Miami on Wednesday night, but came back to beat Atlanta on Thanksgiving night. The Magic are currently 12-4 and have the most wins in the conference.
The Hawks are a half game back at 11-4, and Miami is third with a 9-5 record.
At the opposite end of the East, the Nets remain winless after losing their 15th game of the season to the Trail Blazers 93-83 on Wednesday. Here is a brief look at my power rankings for the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.
Last Friday, in a key showdown with the Magic, Boston came up on the short end an 83-78 defensive battle. The Celtics couldn’t avoid another slow start, and trailed by as many as 16 points in the first quarter—a deficit they never recovered from.
On Sunday they squeaked out a 107-105 overtime win over the Knicks when Kevin Garnett hit a 20 foot jumper as time expired. Paul Pierce led all scorers with 33 points, and Kendrick Perkins added 13 rebounds.
In their last outing the Celtics won another close one, beating the 76ers 113-110. Once again, Pierce led the way with 27 points, as well as making some key defensive plays in the closing minutes to seal the win.
Through 15 games, Pierce is the leading scorer (averaging 20.1 points per game), Garnett and Perkins lead in rebounds (7.3), and Rajon Rondo leads in assists (8.7). Next up for the Celtics are the Raptors tonight in Boston, and then at the Heat on Sunday, Bobcats on Tuesday, and Spurs on Thursday, Dec. 3.
In its last four games, Orlando played three of the best teams in the conference and came away 2-1.
In the 83-78 win over Boston, Vince Carter’s 26 points led all scorers, and Rashard Lewis added 10 rebounds and 16 points. On Tuesday they beat the Raptors 104-96. Once again Carter led the way with 24 points while J.J.Redick added 19 points off the bench.
On Wednesday, they dropped a 99-98 decision to their in-state rival, Miami. The Heat’s Michael Beasley recovered a Dwyane Wade air ball and dunked it for the one-point win.Jason William’s 25 points led the way for the Magic.
They bounced back the next night with an impressive 93-76 win over the Hawks. They erased a 12-point halftime deficit and took control in the second half, cruising to a 16-point win. Dwight Howard had 22 points and 17 rebounds.
Through 16 games Carter leads in points per game with 19.2, Howard leads in rebounds (11.8), and Jameer Nelson leads in assists (5.5). Next up for the Magic are the Bucks on Saturday, and then the Knicks in back-to-back games in New York on Sunday and back home on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
The Cavaliers have won three in a row starting with a 105-95 win over the Pacers last Friday night. Lebron James scored 40 points in the 10-point win.
The next night they beat the 76ers 97-91. James once again was the leading scorer with 32, and Mo Williams added 18 points and 8 rebounds to help hold off Philly. In their last game they beat the Pistons 98-88. James’ 34 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists were the key to this win as they jumped out to an 18 point lead at the half and never looked back.
Through 15 games, James leads in points per game with 29.7 and assists with 8, and Anderson Varejao leads with 7.8 rebounds. Next up for the Cavaliers are the Bobcats tonight in Charlotte, and then back home against the Mavericks on Saturday and the Suns on Wednesday, Dec. 2.