Jan 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) takes the ball up court as Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Jason Terry (31) tries to defend during the 4th quarter in a game at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports The Toronto Raptors won 96-80.

Breaking Down the Atlantic Division: We Have A Winning Team

The Raptors make it through the week with a winning record for the season. So, we have a winning team. Yay.

The Raptors took care of business by beating the Nets but they dropped one to the Celtics. They also beat the Bucks. I’ve been hearing that it’s only a matter of time before the Nets and Knicks, who have improved in 2014, take over the division. But, I don’t think it’ll be easy. The Raptors have played well and with a 6-2 record against the division, they have shown early on they are capable of beating these guys from New York. Only the Celtics have a winning record as well at 3-2.

The Nets, as I mentioned, are playing better lately. Yes, they lost to the Raptors but, they beat the Heat in double OT. The Nets sit in 8th place in the playoff seeding. They arefour games behind the Raptors and home court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. Things seem to be clicking for the Nets and maybe rumors of coach Kidd losing his job by All-Star weekend will die down although the Nets could suffer another setback. They have a big game against the Knicks coming up on the 20th. The Knicks are currently 1/2 game behind the Nets in the divisional standings.

The Knicks are also playing better. They beat the Sixers in a divisional match-up this past week. They also face the Sixers on the 22nd and you know Sixers will be looking for some payback. The Knicks are 2-4 against the division so winning both of these games brings them even. I’m guessing their focus is on that Nets game. Being 4.5 games behind the Raptors means that it’ll be a while before they get the top division spot.

The Celtics are in a tumble. They held onto the top spot for a long time before a nine game losing streak and improved play by the top three teams forced the switch. The Celtics also ruffled up their roster earlier this week. They traded MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford for Joel Anthony and a couple of  protected picks. By beating the Raptors, the Celtics broke their eight-game losing streak. With Rajon Rondo returning on Friday, the Celtics could be in a position to actually make a run for the division. They are only two game back from the Knicks right now. If Rondo can make an immediate  impact, things could get interesting.

The Sixers. The first leaders of the division. Now, at the bottom. Started from the top, now we’re here. What? Huh?

But, they are only two game behind the Knicks too. With a game against the Knicks soon, the Sixers could make up some ground. Still, it would appear that the Sixers could end up trading some of their best players to keep the tank alive. We don’t want the Sixers to win people.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Brooklyn Nets New York Knicks Philadelphia 76ers Toronto Raptors

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