The Boston Celtics are starting to figure things out ahead of the trade deadline. There has been a lot of noise surrounding the tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the Celtics have never seriously put out interest regarding either player. Eventually, the talent was going to pull through.
The Celtics have a favorable schedule coming up, with the 76ers and Nuggets being the only real threats over the next nine games. Boston does have two games against Brooklyn and two against Atlanta, which are teams the Celtics should be able to beat but are probably evenly matched with on paper. There’s a chance this stretch could vault Boston into the upper tier of the East standings.
On the West coast, the Los Angeles Lakers got LeBron James back at the right time. The Lakers were on their way to getting embarrassed at home by the lowly Knicks before James, Anthony Davis and Malik Monk woke up to rescue the team in an overtime win Saturday. LA does plenty of issues to work out but with James and Davis healthy, this team could make a push ahead of the All-Star break.
The Charlotte Hornets looked to be on the rise but have lost four straight heading into Monday’s game against the Raptors, another team on a nice winning streak. The Hornets don’t have many injury issues; they’re just playing poorly on defense. If this team can’t shore up its defense, it’ll be a play-in group at best the way the East is starting to shape up.
Let’s take a look at Chinmay Vaidya’s power rankings for Week 17 of the NBA season.
NBA Power Rankings: Week 17
|2||Golden State Warriors||2|
|16||Los Angeles Lakers||19|
|19||Los Angeles Clippers||15|
|21||New York Knicks||21|
|23||Portland Trail Blazers||22|
|24||San Antonio Spurs||24|
|25||New Orleans Pelicans||25|
|27||Oklahoma City Thunder||28|