Lebron James and Dwyane Wade have been on quite a roll over the past few weeks as the Miami Heat have fired off a ten game winning streak since last tasting defeat on November 27, 2010 to the Dallas Mavericks (in Dallas). Some have anointed them as the best team in the game now and they have finally “arrived” or “gelled” but until last night nobody has seemed to mention that another team in the Eastern Conference is on quite a little tear as well.
When Paul Pierce went into his trademark dribble drive followed by a pull-up 12-13 foot jump shot and nailed it with 0.4 seconds to go in a thrilling comeback victory for the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden (a great game by the way) people discovered that the Celtics are on a bit of a streak as well. The final dagger was almost nullified by a last second three-point shot that came just after the buzzer by New York Knicks stud power forward Amar’e Stoudemire.
After the replay showed the shot was no good the Celtics had officially won their eleventh game in a row and are continuing to show that the East runs through them, the “Big Two” in Miami be damned. Now I am not going to say the Heat haven’t been playing a more inspired brand of basketball and to reel off ten wins in a row is an accomplishment to itself but the Heat haven’t exactly been playing the stiffest of competition.
The cumulative records of the teams they have recently defeated (including beating the Cleveland Cavaliers twice) was an uninspiring 101-147, a .407 winning percentage. Not exactly a who’s who of winning ball clubs and their only real impressive victory over the past ten games was a road victory in Utah against the super strong Jazz. Sure, New Orleans (15-10) and Atlanta (16-10) have decent records but truth be told both teams have been playing horrible basketball for nearly a month.
This is not to say the Boston Celtics haven’t roughed up a few lacklustre NBA teams but since their last loss in Toronto versus the Raptors on November 21, 2010 the Celtics have beaten the surging New York Knicks, steady Denver Nuggets and the tough Chicago Bulls. Combined the records of the past 10 teams they have defeated (they beat New Jersey twice) is 122-145, good for a .457 winning clip. Again nothing to brag about but a pretty big difference when compared to the Heat’s hit list.
A lot can happen with so many games left to be played but as I see it now barring a Carmelo Anthony trade to the New York Knicks it appears the East will be a two team battle all season between the defending conference champion Boston Celtics and the “chosen” team down in South Beach. This would make for an interesting playoff series with the hardnosed, battle tested Celtics trying to stave off father time and the new kids on the block from Miami.
A lot of interesting story lines, matchups, beefs and grudges in what could prove to be one of the best playoff series in recent memory. Whichever team emerges victorious in the bloody battle had better hope they have some gas left in the tank as the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will be anxiously awaiting the survivor, and will give no inch or show any mercy.
Not with the deadliest assassin since MJ firmly in control, the ruthless Kobe Bryant.