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The Race Is On -- A Look at the Week Ahead(Jan. 25th)

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'

Th_cle_2_mediumCleveland Cavaliers(34-8) -- 3 Games(2 Home, 1 Road)

The Cavaliers return home from their first of twi trips west this season to fave the Sacremento Kings at The Q on Tuesday night.  The Cavs have won 3 in a row and 7/10, and the Kings are one of the worst road teams in all of basketball. 

After the short stay at home, the Cavaliers head back on the road for a nationally televised battle with the Orlando Magic.  Orlando has lost two straight to fall back to 3rd in the Eastern Conference, but the Magic will be pumped to face LeBron and the Cavs.  This is the target game in my mind for Z to make his comeback.

After the Magic, the Cavs finish off the week with another of the weaker Western Conference teams, the LA Clippers.  The Cavs do have to face them on a back to back, but should have the legs to stay undefeated at home.

Th_bos_mediumBoston Celtics(36-9) - 3 Games(2 Home, 1 Road)

The Celtics have righted the ship, winning 7 straight after having a rough start to 2009.  7-3 in their last 10, they kick the week off this afternoon at home against the Dallas Mavericks.  The Mavericks crushed the Pistons, in Detroit, on Friday and could give the Celtics a ball-game.

On Wednesday, the Celtics get the same Sacramento Kings team the Cavaliers will play the night before.  This should be an easy win for Boston.

The Cletics lone road game this week is a trip to Detroit to face the Pistons on Friday.  We really don't know which Pistons team will show up on any given night, but I'll assume Detroit will at least try against the defending World Champs.

Th_orl2_mediumOrlando Magic(33-10) -- 2 Games(2 Home)

The Magic have the lightest schedule this week, seeing action on Tuesday and Thursday, both home games.  Despite losing 2 straight, the Magic have still won 7/10 to keep pace with the Celtics and Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

On Tuesday the Magic will welcome an improving Indiana Pacers team to town.  Danny Granger is quickly becoming a star, and if the Magic are looking ahead to their meeting with the Cavaliers it could get interesting.

Of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town on Thursday for a highly anticipated showdown.  Importance in the standings is joined with another possible result of the outcome - who will coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game.  With Doc Rivers ineligible, Stan Van Gundy is Mike Brown's only competition for the gig.