Pivot Points: The Lakers, Celtics, And Magic Are Streaking Atop the NBA

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IDecember 6, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers has the ball as he looks to pass as he is covered by Dwight Howard #12 and Mickael Pietrus #20 of the Orlando Magic in the first quarter of Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

It's no small coincidence that the current teams that rest atop the NBA standings are also the teams that currently have the league's longest winning streaks.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the Orlando Magic, and the Boston Celtics all sport winning streaks of at least five games, and that's only one of the traits that they share as the most complete teams in the NBA.

The three are also among the league leaders in overall team defense, they all have multiple players in the post with the potential for dominance, and they all have superior perimeter players that are capable of getting their own shots.

Oh yeah, they are all also road warriors with only four road defeats between them, and they all like the challenge of winning games on someone else's home-court.

The Lakers and the Celtics are the league's top defensive units with the Celtics holding a slight edge, and the Magic not falling far behind.

They all play principled man-to-man defense and are disciplined in their rotations. Their superior front-court players allow the perimeter players to be aggressive at the point of attack, because they understand they have help on the back end.

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That back end help may collectively consist of the most dominant post players in the entire league, and all the teams have the added benefit of more than one player that can be utilized.

The Magic have Dwight Howard, who has the potential for dominance on both ends of the court, and players like Marcin Gortat, Ryan Anderson, and Brandon Bass, who all contribute and present different challenges, offensively and defensively.

The Celtics may have the most versatile and the deepest core of post players with Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins, and Shelden Williams. Wallace and Garnett are doubly dangerous because of their comfort in playing on the perimeter.

The Lakers boast a formidable front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom. Odom and Gasol are comfortable sliding between different positions, and Bynum has quietly become the most dominant center in the Western Conference.

The teams are also loaded in the back court with players who are considered superstars, and are able to get their own shots in pressure moments, or when the game slows down.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for the Celtics are seasoned veterans with championship experience and a renewed passion to reach the Finals for a second time in three years.

Allen may have slowed down a bit, but Pierce looks as quick as ever and is the only true Celtic capable of breaking down an isolation defense off the strength of his dribble-drive.

Vince Carter of the Magic may prefer perimeter shots, but he does possess the ability to put the ball on the floor, and has the size and strength to be bullish in the paint when posting up.

Kobe Bryant is possibly the top perimeter player in the league as well as the most versatile, and is capable of getting his own shot whenever he pleases, and is dangerous from every spot on the floor.

The road records of all three teams cannot be discounted, because the ability to consistently win games away from home is a sign of the true will and resolve of teams with championship characteristics.

Of the three, the Lakers have played the least number of road games, but that will change in the approaching weeks, and the Lakers should be prepared as they were the best road team in the league last season.

The past two NBA Finals are comprised of the Lakers, Celtics, and Magic, with the Celtics and Lakers hoisting the last two banners respectively, and all three look as if a return trip could be in the cards.

True championship teams have to have certain elements in order to be complete, and these three teams are a representation of what it takes on all levels of the game to achieve championship aspirations.

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