Nov 28, 2012; Boston, MA, USA;Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) emerges from a scrum with the Brooklyn Nets after having his jersey torn off during the first half at TD Garden. Rondo was ejected from the game. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Breaking Down the Atlantic Division: 11/22-11/28

What was supposed to be the best division in the league appears to be a little weak. Sixers at this point will not be a contender in winning the division. Celtics are having a slow start although I would expect them to come roaring back. Knicks are off to a great start (Sixers know all about that) and the Nets are probably the only team playing a the level I figured they would play.

Here’s the Atlantic Division standings as of last night (record vs divisional teams in parenthesis):

  1. Knicks 10-4 (2-1)
  2. Nets 10-4 (4-0)
  3. Sixers 9-6 (3-2)
  4. Celtics 8-7 (1-3)
  5. Raptors 3-13 (0-4)

So the Nets and Knicks are in control here. Again, I don’t see the Sixers seriously contending especially since their schedule is only getting tougher. Celtics could come back and maybe they won’t but I don’t want to face them in the playoffs.

Knicks: Knicks got blown out by the Rockets, beat the Pistons, lost to divisional rival Nets, and beat the Bucks. Knicks have not lost at home yet as they are 5-0. Also, they have played 9 games on the road which means that they have more home games left than away. A sign of a great team is winning at home but, more importantly, winning on the road. Do I expect them to keep up this level of play? No, I’m not convinced yet. But, they’ve had quality wins over quality opponents so maybe they have taken that next step to contention.

Nets: The Nets continue to impress although I’m still wary about their bench. They had an interesting week as they won 4 straight. They beat the Clippers, Blazers, Knicks, and Celtics. Now, that Celtics game got out of hand causing multiple ejections and stuff. I’d show you a video but the NBA has all that on lock down so if you missed the game, and the brief period where the NBA didn’t lock down the videos, you’re out of luck. Still, the Nets are the only team to not lose against anybody in their division. They have faced everybody except for the Sixers. So they are in control of their division rivalry at the moment.

Sixers:What a season. Sixers did manage a good week of games. They lost to the Thunder in OT while beating the Suns and Mavericks. They also have a winning record vs the division although both losses are blowouts to the Knicks and as you already know, they have yet to face the Nets. Their preseason was mostly against the division and they only lost one game during the preseason so I feel the Sixers should play better vs the Knicks next time they play.

Celtics: You already heard about the fight vs the Nets. Nothing like a little divisional rivalry. But, with the Sixers, Knicks, and Nets all with winning records in the division, somebody has to be losing. Celtics are 1-3 vs their division. Celtics shouldn’t be in 4th place but they are. With Rondo looking like he’ll be suspended, the Celtics will have to carry on. Besides the loss to the Nets, they beat the Thunder and the Magic, although they needed OT to do it vs the Magic. Each year since they became the Celtics we know, it’s been “Oh they’re too old. They’re done.” and the Celtics prove us wrong. But, you can’t ignore that Garnett and Peirce are getting up there. They’re slowing down. And, at some point, they will fall off. So keeping Garnett and Peirce fresh as possible for the playoffs is smart. And the Celtics are very smart. So I’m not worried about them.

Raptors: The Raptors are the team that could, and probably will, be the abused member of the division. Don’t get me wrong, the Raptors have a nice core of players and in a few years, they could definitely be a player in this division. But, for now, they are 3-13 and appear to be headed to the lottery yet again. They lost all 4 games this past week as well as 6 overall. They haven’t beaten an Atlantic rival…yet.

Week Preview: 11/29-12/5

Knicks face the Wizards, Suns, and Bobcats. 3-0 for the week because why not? Possible loss would come from the Suns.

Nets have a more complicated week. They face the Magic, Heat, and Thunder. If the Nets are for real, they’ll go 2-1. Otherwise, they will lose to both the Heat and Thunder while beating the Magic. But, I happen to think the Nets are for real and will go 2-1 for the week.

Sixers have the Bobcats, Bulls, and Timberwolves. In my power rankings, I said the Sixers would beat the Bobcats and lose to the Bulls. I’m still holding on to that. So what about the Timberwolves? I say win. So 2-1 for the week.

Celtics have a decent week in which they could possibly win all 3 games. But, they won’t, especially if and most likely when Rondo is suspended. So, I’ll go 1-2 but they face the Blazers, Bucks and Timberwolves. But yes, I still feel 1-2.

Raptors’ losing streak may continue. They have the Suns, Nuggets, and Kings. Lose to the Suns and beat the Kings. Lose to the Nuggets too. So 1-2 for the week. I really hope.

So the standings by next week should look like this:

  1. Knicks
  2. Nets
  3. Sixers
  4. Celtics
  5. Raptors

So, no change. Simple as that.

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