The answer is no. The Cavs cannot overtake the Hawks, and they are not number one. That's fine, though. Right now they're playing the best basketball in the NBA, and as we are all too aware the number one seed can go down mighty early in the playoffs. The Cavs have won 11 straight, the Bucks have won four. The Wizards and Bulls are stumbling in the break, while Toronto is somewhat treading water.
Without further ado:
1.) Atlanta Hawks (40-9, 9-1)
The Hawks lost, finally, but with 11 games space and only 32 remaining, catching them would be pretty difficult, unless disaster were to strike.
2.) Cleveland Cavaliers (30-20, 10-0)
Eleven in a row, and with the right breaks would be 12-0 since LeBron returned. The Cavs aren't winning in ways that can't hold up, like earlier this year. Heck, they even win when they don't play well. Fun times ahead.
3.) Milwaukee Bucks (26-22, 6-4)
YES THE BUCKS! Look, I'm not crazy. They've won four straight, play great defense, just pulled apart the Raptors, and their point differential (1.8) is in line to pass Chicago (1.9) and Washington (2.2). Brandon Knight is quietly putting together a wonderful season.
4.) Toronto Raptors (33-16, 7-3)
The Raptors had a painfully easily schedule early (like Washington) and never really looked the part of a top team on the court. They play better on both ends when Jonas Valanciunas isn't playing, so, that is something.
5.) Chicago Bulls (30-19, 4-6)
Can anyone figure out the Bulls? They get embarrassed by the Cavs, put in two great games, get dominated by the Heat, beat the Warriors, and then lose to the Lakers and Suns. Do they hate their coach? Is Derrick Rose good enough these days to carry them? Does Pau ACTUALLY help? This team is weird.
6.) Washington Wizards (31-18, 6-4)
The Wizards to this point have had the easiest schedule in the league, and it shows. Thirty-five year old Rasual Butler -- who was their best shooter and spacer for two months -- has come crashing back to Earth, and the Wizards are floundering. Injuries to John Wall haven't helped at all, as he is the engine that makes this whole thing go. If Washington wants to make any noise in the playoffs, they need to figure out Marcin Gortat's offense, and where they're going to find some spacing in the forward spots. They're 9-9 in January with @ Atlanta and @ Charlotte (who just beat them) coming up before games against the Lakers, Nets, Magic and @ Toronto to close out the first half of the season. John Wall sets up guys for open threes like no other, Washington needs to find someone other than Brad Beal to hit them.
7.) Charlotte Hornets (21-27, 7-3)
They are 21-27, but have won seven of their last 10, including getting out to a massive lead in what eventually became a close game against the Wiz.
8.) Detroit Pistons (19-30, 5-5)
They're playing a little better than the Heat and Nets, I think? I dunno. The race for eighth is just depressing.
9.) Booklyn Nets (19-28, 3-7)
10.) Miami Heat (21-27, 4-6)
These two are interchangeable, really? Hassanity has not equaled wins.
11.) Boston Celtics (17-30, 4-6)
12.) Indiana Pacers (17-32, 2-8)
Frank Vogel had them in it early, but they may have finally run out of steam. They're talking about working Paul George back in the end of March though, so, who knows. It's the East.
13.) Philadelphia 76ers (11-39, 3-7)
A great coached team with little top end talent. I'm not sure they employ a single player that is not a long athletic defender. They're fun.
14.) New York Knicks (10-39, 5-5)
They're a different kind of fun.
15.) Orlando Magic (15-36, 1-9)
Nobody has been more miserable than the Magic lately. If Jacque Vaughn survives the All-Star break, I will be shocked.
So that is the East for this week. Flame away, and when Milwaukee completely embarrasses me for putting them third, make sure to link this article and have me on your radio show/TV show/podcast.