1.New York 19-6
The East has not shaped into the conference that a lot of people thought it would be. It is definitely the inferior conference, even with the Lakers being so poor.
I see hope for Boston.
Above is the top ten teams in the east currently. We are 8th and just two game out of 4th. The remaining 5 teams (Toronto, Washington, Charlotte, Detroit, and Cleveland) are all but done. Orlando will not last either. 9 teams competing for 8 spots and unless the injury big kills us we will be a playoff team. The only question is, what is our seed.
Injuries and their impact
Chicago, Indiana, and Philly are all suffering from injuries to arguably their best players. Philly is beginning to fade. They have lost 4 or 5 in a row. Depending on when Bynum comes back they might be the first round team no one wants to see. If Bynum doesn't come back then they will be lucky to make the post season. I believe he makes some type of return b/c too much money is on the line for this guy right now. What his impact will be I don't know, but they have the potential to be very good.
The same I can't say for Indiana and Chicago. I don't see Rose being Adrian Peterson. He is still expected to be out for a couple more months and I believe the minute the Bull's starters are playing will catch up with them. One more injury to a key player and they are in trouble. I see us catching them in the standings. Indiana I see us catch as well. Granger is still months away and outside of David West (playing great) they are very young. I believe we will catch them too. I don't see us matching up with either in the first round and both being eliminated in the first round.
Both Atlanta and Milwaukee are over performing. If Milwaukee could make a move for a big then they could be more legit. But when was the last time they were relevant? I see them coming down to earth. Hopefully it's shortly after an upcoming loss to Boston. I think we surpass them in the standings shortly. Atlanta is playing well too, but I don't see it lasting. Overall I think they lack the fire power to sustain this winning. I believe we surpass them as well. Assuming they stand pat I would love to play them in the first round.
New York Teams
Like Boston both teams have a ton of new faces. For NYC it's been about Melo and the three ball. They look good. But can Jason Kidd keep it up? He has been key to their greatness and is the reason I expect Amare and Melo to finally work. Amare is without a doubt the X factor. He gives them the second go to guy required to make long playoff runs. BUT if he comes back and hi and Melo can't play together then they aren't getting to ECF. Depending on threes and only having one superior talent can be great in the regular season but it won't work in the playoffs. Amare playing well would make NYC a tough out for Boston especially since they likely have HCA. Amare playing like last year makes NYC a good matchup for Boston and highly vulnerable to 2nd round upset.
Brooklyn has lost 4 in a row and 8 of its last 10. They're struggling mightily to finish games and a lot of this has to do with unfamiliarity amongst their top players. Deron looks overrated and him and Joe haven't formed the chemistry needed to advance deep in the playoffs. They have a lot of talent, but can they put it together this season in their first playoffs? Won't know until we get there but I like how we match up with them too. I think we finish ahead of them.
Beasts of the Easts. They will be there in the ECF.
Where I see the Celtics
In the end I expect us to finish third in the East. This assumes all teams are healthy. I think we battle NY in the semis. I think we defend the three well and I don't believe Amare and Carmelo play as well as they need to to win. I see AB and Rondo making life miserable for Kidd and Felton and we win in 6.
I then see us battling Miami and at that point - who knows?
The East lacks dominant teams with size. I think the Celtics will continue to be up and down but finish the last quarter of the season strong. Other then NY and Miami I believe all of the other teams will be up and down as well and bunched together. Boston play its best come playoff time and our best players have seen it all and will be prepared for anything. The rest of the team will follow their lead and we will be in Miami for game 1 of the ECF.