Jan 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni (9) drives to the basket during the second half against Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) at Madison Square Garden. Philadelphia 76ers defeat the New York Knicks 110-105. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Breaking Down the Atlantic Division: Here come the Nets

The Atlantic Division got a little separation this past week. The Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors at this point are sitting on top of the division with at least fours games ahead of the 3rd place team. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers are all sitting together.

The Raptors still have a winning record and that’s just fantastic. With a record of 6-2 against the division, they are still the number one team in the division in terms of inner battles. The Raptors had a good week as they beat the T-Wolves and Mavericks. They lost to the Lakers and Bobcats. They face the Sixers this week so that’ll be a big game.

But, the bigger game is versus the Nets on the 27th. The Nets are only two games behind the Raptors and you already know the Nets are looking for that top four seed. I would imagine that being a tough game. However, just a week ago, the Raptors blew the Nets out. And, again, Raptors have the best division record. The season series between these teams is tied though with the Nets getting a late November win.

Speaking of the Nets, they are currently riding a three game winning streak and have been playing their best ball in January. This past week, they shook off the Knicks who were breathing down their necks. We already talked about their meeting with the Raptors. However, they have a game vs the Celtics too. That game should be interesting as well.

The Knicks are struggling. After winning four straight, they have lost five. The Sixers have been involved in both streaks. This losing streak takes them out of the division race for the moment. The question is, can they bounce back? I’ve been checking out the writers for the Knicks at the FanSided Knicks site and some of them expect Mike Woodson to be fired soon. But, there was also a time when team owner Dolan said that nobody would be fired/traded. Curious to see how it plays out.

The Celtics got Rajon Rondo back but reports say that Rondo could be on his way out via trade, soon. I guess that makes sense since they seemed to have embraced the rebuilding process in their recent Jordan Crawford trade. Anyway, like I said, they have the Nets this week as the key match-up.

The Sixers are in last place but are tied with the Celtics and are only one game behind the Knicks for 3rd. And they are 7.5 games from 1st place. They have the Raptors up next so they can definitely cut into that 7.5 mark. We’ll have to see how long they keep Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and/or Thad Young. Now, FanSided.com snagged a report that the Sixers were in no rush in trading them basically because they are waiting for the right deal and it’s not like these players are seriously hurting the team’s chance at a good pick. So, we could see these guys until April. Maybe February. But, for me, I feel like at least Hawes and Turner are in their last season on this team.

So, this is going to be an interesting week as each team except the Knicks face someone else in the division. I doubt the rankings will change, but, ya never know. All of these teams have had good and bad runs and I still think this is the weakest division in the league.

One question for you: Will the Raptors still be on top of the division by next breakdown? And hit me with any other comments you have.

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

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