Breaking Down the Atlantic Division: Raptors Running the Show

Dec 28, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) is congratulated by guard Greivis Vasquez (21) after defeating the New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another week of basketball in the books. The Toronto Raptors have been solid lately. They’ve won four in a row and are at .500 with a 15-15 record. Could the winner of the division have a winning record after all? The Sixers were able to stop the road woes they’ve had all season. They have won two games in a row, both on the road after losing 13 straight. With this winning streak, and the New York Knicks continued struggles, the Sixers move out of last place on the division.

The Raptors won all of their games since we last talked. They beat the Knicks twice, the Chicago Bulls, and the mighty Indiana Pacers. The win over the Bulls is the only one by single digits. Was Rudy Gay the problem? Since the trade, they are 9-3. If I told you at the begging of the season that the Raptors would dominate the division, would you buy it? They are 5-1 against the division, which is best for in-divisional match ups for these guys.

Celtics are waiting for Rajon Rondo. In the meantime, this team has also been playing good basketball. First time coach Brad Stevens has something special here. Right now, the Celtics are in the 8th spot. The East is weak, and the Celtics have a losing record, but it’s still impressive. They had a quiet week beating the Cleveland Cavaliers and losing to the Atlanta Hawks. They won by three and lost by one. Don’t tell Boston to tank. They can’t hear you! Against the division: 2-2.

The Brooklyn Nets continue to have problems. I hear that Jason Kidd could lose his job by All-Star Weekend if things don’t improve. Losing Brook Lopez is going to hurt. They are on the wrong end of a tie with the Sixers. Sure, NBA.com has the Nets ahead but, Nets have lost two in a row while Sixers are on the winning streak. If I told you that the Knicks and Nets would be on the bottom of the division, would you buy it? Probably not because you might be broke from losing out on the Raptors thing. Still, there seems to be too much talent here to be losing like this. They beat the Bucks and then lost against the Pacers and Spurs. Like, they got blown out. Nets do have the only other winning record against the division at 3-2.

The Sixers finally were able to win on the road again. This is the first winning streak since the beginning of the season when they went 3-0. Good times. They started things off with a loss to the Suns before beating the Lakers and Nuggets. Sixers continue to score, even in their losses. They made it to 100 points each game.

Knicks only had two games since we last met, and both were losses to the Raptors. Not good for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony has been struggling with injuries. The entire roster is. Is that why James Dolan recently said that there would be no movement on the roster and coaching staff? Is he giving the team a chance to get healthy? Even when the team is injured, they look worse than they should be. Like the Nets, this team is performing below many expectations. They blew up their future in terms of picks and youth. Losing won’t do much to help them with such a terrific draft coming up. They are a half game behind the Sixers and Nets and only 6 games out of first place for the division. Winning the division could be the only way this team makes the playoffs so they better get to it.

There’s no games between these teams this week. Boo. After seeing the Raptors and Pacers, I pretty much convinced myself that the Raptors would win the division. What do you think? Will they hold on? Will the Celtics make a push, especially if Rondo returns and makes immediate impact? Will the Knicks or Nets snap out of it and play like most of us anticipated? Or were they doomed from the start? Hit the comments!

Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Jason Kidd, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay, Toronto Raptors

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