Feb 5, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics defeated the Sixers 114-108. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking Down the Atlantic Division: Can Rondo lead a Celtics playoff push?

Feb 5, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics defeated the Sixers 114-108. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Another week is in the books in the Atlantic Division. The Raptors continue to lead the way and I’m not surprised. Unless they trade Lowry, I really don’t think the Raptors fall. The Nets simply don’t seem to have what it takes to take the division. Meanwhile, the Knicks, Celtics, and Sixers are fading fast.

Again, are the Raptors legit? Of course they are. You don’t lead this division by accident. Sure, you could make excuses for the Nets and Knicks, the two teams people figured would be running the show. Fact of the matter is, this team is putting up numbers. If the playoffs started today, they would be facing a tough Bulls team. Now, I’m actually not entirely sure they can beat the Bulls. But hey, playoff basketball seems to be destined for Toronto. It’s been a while. The Raptors continue to dominate the division with an 8-2 record. DeMar DeRozan is a deserving All-Star and Kyle Lowry was snubbed as an All-Star reserve. That should tell you how legit the Raptors are.

The Nets are an interesting team. As with the whole division, this team was losing early and often. They seemed to have been able to rebound, but, contention is simply not a real possibility. And, with all of the money put into this team, it would appear that this season is a bust. They beat the rival 76ers on Monday, but everyone is doing that these days.

Can the Knicks make the playoffs? As each week passes, the question has more and more life to it? They are running out of time. Will Carmelo Anthony stay? His wife thinks he will, and people have said she played a key role in him coming to the Knicks in the first place. Or, is he ready to branch off and team up with another star? He already tried teaming up with Amar’e with terrible results. To me, if the Knicks miss the playoffs, Anthony is gone. I mean, they don’t seem to be in a real position to be able to get star power any time soon. I could be wrong.

The Celtics have won two in a row, including beating on division wuss Sixers in a close call to avenge their close loss a week ago. Speaking of Anthony, rumors a month or so ago had Anthony trying to team up with Rondo in New York. Could that happen? Or are the Celtics using Rondo as a key rebuilding player? Or maybe they’re looking for another deal altogether? But, let’s say Rondo stays. Do the Celtics make the playoffs? They are only five games behind 8th place. And with Rondo playing well, I really like the make up of this team. It’s not far fetched.

Lastly, the Sixers. Losers of four straight, this team seems to be poised to be trading Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and/or Thaddeus Young. It’s interesting to see if that happens. Quite a few tankers want the Sixers to lose, lose, lose. As a tanker myself, I’m actually okay with the Sixers not having the worst record. Barely any teams that had the worst record had the top pick. Heck, last time the Sixers finished around the bottom after the 08-09 season, they ended up with the second pick, even though they were sixth worst. Right now, they are third worst in the league. I could live with that as the season ends.

Next week, I’ll focus on All Star Weekend and how many folks from the division are going to be a part of the it all. Should be fun. Until next time.

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

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