The NBA Regular Season is approaching the half-way point and there are already some obvious leaders in the league. Fans have been blessed with an action-packed season so far and there is even more excitement to come this week, with a key matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors. Let's take a look at the standings and other key games this week to hopefully shed some life on what a postseason bracket could look like.
The big story in the East has been the Celtics run. Now spanning 7-straight wins, Boston is well out in first place with a record of 34-10, which is the second-best record in the league overall. Boston has its fate in its own hands, so instead of looking at the under the microscope, let's see which of the other teams in the conference could be Boston's biggest threat.
The two biggest rivals that Boston will undoubtedly have the most trouble with in the second-half of the season are the Toronto Raptors and the Cavaliers. The Canadian team has had an outstanding season, being able to stay just at the heels of Boston, while staying in front of Cleveland virtually all season long.
The backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry is one of the best in the NBA, Serge Ibaka has also been crucial for the Raptors success.
The Cavaliers have had a roller-coaster of a season so far plagued with roster changes and still lacking a flow, which can be seen with other teams. Luckily, King James (LeBron James) has been, yet again, a force to be reckoned with this year and is responsible for the explosive offense. They are really missing out on the Point Guard position so if they are to pick things up for the second-half, this would be a good place to start.
The Miami Heat are on a 7-game winning streak and are holding onto fourth place with a firm grip. They are just above the Washington Wizards, who are also having a solid season.
This week's biggest game will be played on Monday, January 15 at 1:00 GMT between the Cavs and the Warriors. 888 Sport is confident that Warriors can walk into Quicken Loans Arena and beat the Cavs, posting odds in the visitors' favor at 1.98, while the home team is at 2.70.
The Raptors are also away at the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at 18:00 and this will be a big game for both squads. According to Betfair Sports, the Raptors are the favorites to win tonight at 1.85. The 76ers are at 2.05, so it should be a close one.
The Warriors...obviously the team to beat in the league, not only this season but for the last few years. Golden State has it all and more. They shoot three's, they have an outstanding defense, and they are a team that gel's better than any other in the world right now. With the league's best record of 35-9, the Warriors have yet again taken control of their own destiny through hard work and discipline.
So who could de-throne the reigning champs? Well, the Houston Rockets are the closest thing to competition that the Warriors will have in the standings. Led by James Harden, the Rockets are becoming a real threat and will probably do well in the off-season. The San Antonio Spurs are always an excellent team, but they have fallen-off over their last ten games only going 6-4.
The two sleeping tigers in the West have got to be the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both of these teams are winning crucial games and really look like they will continue to play well into the second-half of the season.
The Atlanta Hawks could give the Spurs a big blow if they can beat them tonight at 20:00 GMT. In fact, 888 Sport has the Hawks in the underdog position at 3.70 but there is something about this game that looks like Atlanta will win. The Spurs are at 1.30 to win.