At this point in the NBA season, it is any team's championship to win. In a little over a month, only the top seed in the East has not changed. The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from a week where they lost three-in-a-row by winning three-in-a-row and regained the top spot in the Southeast division. The Hawks needed a good week and did so by beating a good Dallas Mavericks team and getting a payback win over the Indiana Pacers.
The Hawks play better at Home
The win over the Pacers proved that last week. After losing to the Pacers on the road twice, they finally got the win at home last week. The Hawks are 17-8 at home and 13-15 on the road. The Hawks lost a close game in Orlando against the Magic on Sunday and will turn around on Monday to play them again in Atlanta. We will see if the theory is proven tonight against the Magic. Winning key games at home will keep the Hawks in the top four of the standings or push them upward in the standings.
With two games to go into the All-Star break this weekend, the Hawks also face a midweek matchup with the Bulls in Chicago. A win over the Bulls would be a big momentum push going into the break. The Hawks have five straight games at home following the All-Star break including the Miami Heat, the Golden State Warriors, and the Chicago Bulls.
The Hot Team of the Week
The hottest team in the East this week is the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, who were in eighth place a month ago, are now sitting in third place. The Celtics have won four-in-a-row including a 104-103 victory over the East leading Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics play the Bucks and the Clippers this week going into the break. Isaiah Thomas is playing great basketball and is tied for twelfth in the NBA by averaging 21.4 points-per-game.
The Not Looking So Good Team of the Week
With the teams that have a shot at the Playoffs, the Chicago Bulls did not have a good week. The Bulls have lost 11 out of 16 games. The Bulls' best player right now is out with a knee sprain and there is no timetable for Jimmy Butler to return. The Bulls have fallen to sixth place in the East and two games out of being in ninth place. There is trouble in BullsLand and when Derrick Rose is one of your only healthy players that can't be good.
A Look at the Eastern Conference Standings
If the playoffs started today, this would be be the eight teams that played each other.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (36-14)
2. Toronto Raptors (34-16)
3. Boston Celtics (31-22)
4. Atlanta Hawks (30-23)
5. Miami Heat (29-23)
6. Chicago Bulls (27-23)
7. Indiana Pacers (27-24)
8. Detroit Pistons (27-25)