Now that the Cavs, Magic and Celtics are all across the mid-way point of their schedule, the race for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference is officially on. Each Sunday I will look at the upcoming opponents for each team so that all of us know what is to come for the week and how it might impact the 'Race'
The Cavaliers went 3-1 last week with wins against Sacramento, the LA Clippers and Detroit surrounding a road loss to the Magic. The Cavs did extend their home winning streak to 22, though at times I get the feeling the streak is becoming more of a distraction to the team.
This week, the Cavaliers face a Toronto(Home, 2/3) team that might be the biggest disappointment in the NBA. With Chris Bosh, however, they have to be considered dangerous. That home game is followed immediately by a trip to New York(Away, 2/4) to face the Knicks. The Cavs have already beaten the Knicks twice this season in blowouts.
They finish the week next Sunday in another National TV game, this time against Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers(Home, 2/8) in a rematch of the Cavaliers worst loss of the season a couple weeks ago. The three days off between games should help the Cavaliers be in peak condition.
The Celtics are on fire, having won 10 straight, most by double digits. They'll look to continue their hot run with 4 more games this week. They have already played 3 more games that the Cavaliers and at this rate will have the entire month of Arpil off!
This week, the Celtics take on Philadelphia(Away, 2/3) in a game that should be alot of fun to watch. The Sixers have been playing solid basketball, and Kevin Garnett may not play due to an illness.
Next up is a visit by the LA Lakers(Home, 2/5). LA beat the Celtics on Christmas Day, ending Boston's 19 game winning streak. That was the beginning of Boston's rough stretch. Can the Lakers do it again?
The Celtics will play their one back-to-back of the week, heading to New York(Away, 2/6) right after the Laker game.
The Celtics finish off the week with another tough home game, this time against San Antonio(Home, 2/8)
The Magic are almost as hot as the Celtics, winning 8 of their last 10. They are calling their victory over a beat up Cavaliers team a statement win. We'll see. This week the Magic also play 4 games getting 3 of them at home.
It all starts tonight when the Magic welcome the Dallas Mavericks(Home, 2/2). Dallas is still a tough out, but they have yet to really play well on the road against upper echelon talent.
On Wednesday the Magic host the LA Clippers(Home, 2/4). That game could get entertaining if the Clippers shoot the ball the way they did against Cleveland last week.
The Magic's lone trip of the week comes on Friday night with a jaunt north to Indiana(Away, 2/6) to face Danny Granger and the Pacers.
Finally, the Magic also play on Sunday, but unlike the Cavs and Celtics get a better draw - the New Jersey Nets(Home, 2/8).