The NBA All-Star Weekend festivities have come to an end. Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron to take home the trophy. The second half of the season will resume Thursday with less than 30 games remaining in the regular season. The Boston Celtics, who’s lead by All-Star Game MVP Jayson Tatum sits atop of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics hold a half game lead over the Bucks. Philadelphia, Cleveland and Brooklyn round out the top-5 in the East. The question now is, who will grab the top seed heading into the playoffs? Who are the top 5 teams in the Eastern Conference? Below are my top 5 teams in the Eastern Conference.
Boston has been the class of the Eastern Conference throughout the year. Jayson Tatum has found himself in the MVP conversation. Jaylen Brown just returned during the All-Star as he was dealing with a facial fracture. Marcus Smart is still one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA. The organization has fully moved on from Ime Udoka as they removed the interim tag from Joe Mazzulla. Mazzulla was also rewarded with an extension after leading the Celtics to the best record in the conference. They will be in a close battle with the Bucks and 76ers, but Boston should finish as the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee went into the All-Star break as the hottest team in the NBA. They are currently on a 12-game winning streak to move within a half game of the Celtics. Giannis is one of the leading MVP candidates in the league. They acquired more toughness with the acquisition of Jae Crowder. Unfortunately, things could change for the Bucks due to the health of Giannis. Giannis played one series in the All-Star game due to a right wrist injury. The Bucks sent him to a specialist to determine the severity of the injury. If Giannis must miss a significant amount of time, Milwaukee will drop.
The Philadelphia 76ers are riding a 4-game winning streak as we start the 2nd half of the season. Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate again this year. The biggest issues moving forward is obviously his health. Embiid has stated that he’s not healthy and this could affect them getting the top spot. Philly scooped up Dewayne Dedmon to be Embiid’s back-up the rest of the season. Matisse Thybulle could be a key departure as he brought great perimeter defense. If Embiid remains healthy, they could sneak into the 2nd spot before the year ends.
The Miami Heat enter the second half of the season in the 7th spot. They have also lost 2-games in a row. Miami did sign Kevin Love after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami also signed Tyler Zeller to add more size to their lineup after releasing Dewayne Dedmon. Despite having a less than stellar first half, the Heat has great pieces. Kyle Lowry is due to return from injury and he adds experience. They are 7 games behind the Sixers, and I think they can make a run to make it closer before the season ends.
This was a toss-up for me between them and the Heat. Cleveland has the type of team that could surprise someone and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Donovan Mitchell can score with the best of them in the league. Darius Garland is a former All-Star that’s averaging almost 22 a game. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are two of the better rim protectors in the league. They added Danny Green to the mix and he can still hit open 3s like the best of them. The Cavs are 5th in this ranking, but don’t be surprise if they finished higher. Philadelphia ended their 7-game winning streak before the All-Star game.
My Top 5 Eastern Conference Teams
- Boston Celtics
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Miami Heat
- Cleveland Cavaliers
What do you think about my top 5 Eastern Conference teams? In what order would you put them? Who would you remove and add to the list? Leave some feedback below about anything related to my top 5 Eastern Conference squads heading into the second half.