The NBA Eastern Conference is now starting to take on a very clearly defined shape and it looks like being a three-horse race between a trio of teams to finish top of the conference.
At the moment, the Philadelphia 76ers lead the table with a 31-13 record having won all of their last three. Just a game behind them are the Brooklyn Nets (30-14) who are hoping to have star man Kevin Durant back on the team sooner rather than later as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury.
However, both teams also need to be on the lookout for the fast-rising Milwaukee Bucks, the winners of the conference last season. The Bucks (28-14) have won all of their last seven to push themselves into contention in the race.
Drop Off Behind Top Three
While the top three have been in solid form, the teams behind them have suffered an alarming
drop off in form that has seen them fall well behind in the race for top spot in the East. The Atlanta Hawks are the team in fourth spot with a 22-21 record and they are nine wins behind the 76ers.
It’s the same story for other teams in the positions from 4th to 8th with records of around .500 the norm. The drop off has been alarming for the Boston Celtics who were a solid 4th or 5th in the table a few weeks back but who now find themselves in 8th place.
The 76ers and Nets won their games last night to improve their positions at the top of the table. The 76ers defeating the Washington Warriors 108-98, while the Nets came out on top 116-112 against the Portland Trail Blazers. James Harden hitting 25 points and creating 17 assists in the game.
The Bucks have the chance to do likewise tonight as they take on the struggling Boston Celtics.
Lakers Slide Continues In NBA Western Conference
In the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz remain at the top of the table with a 31-11 record, although they have gone 4-4 in their last eight games. The Phoenix Suns have capitalised on that to move into second in the table with a 29-13 record.
The two LA teams, are then 3rd and 4th with identical 28-16 records but the Lakers are on another slippery slope, having lost their last three games and with the likes of the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks all within touching distance, it must be a worrying time in L.A.
The Lakers face a tricky run in their next nine games too, where they will face the 76ers, Bucks, Clippers and Nets in games that could have a significant impact on their hopes this season.
Especially when you consider their talisman, LeBron James has been ruled out for an indefinite period of time due to a high ankle sprain sustained against the Atlanta Hawks recently.
With the trade deadline in the NBA just two days away, there has been talk of the Lakers potentially making a move to try and address the issue but as yet, that seemingly has more of a route in a drive for hits on a website, than reality.
There’s still plenty of the season left to go and lots could still happen, but there are signs of some positive trends for some teams and worrying trends for others which could make the final couple of months of the regular season very interesting indeed.