The Other Eastern Conference Race: Only Eight Weeks Left In the Race to the Bottom!

1. The last eight weeks of the regular season are going to be painful for half of all Eastern Conference teams, as the objective of at least five (Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando, Boston, and New York) teams in the East should be to lose and amass a great number of ping-pong balls for lottery time.

2. Celtics fans should keep a close eye on the Orlando Magic as the season winds down. With 17 wins, the Magic are only two victories (behind/ahead) Boston in the Tank Division. By winning three straight games in early February (one against OKC and another against Indiana!), the Magic crept closer to the Celtics. In addition, the Magic face the Sixers twice and Milwaukee once in the next two weeks. Every Tobias Harris bucket and Victor Oladipo steal means the Celtics might finish with a worse record.

3. The Milwaukee Bucks are a lock to finish with the worst record in the NBA. Despite going on a recent rampage by winning two of their last ten games, the Bucks have won ten games all season. Tonight they play the 76ers (15-41), in what will stretch the limits of what we know as an “NBA game.” Stubhub shows courtside seats for as low as $100. They won’t come any cheaper in this lifetime.

4. The Philadelphia 76ers, who have eviscerated their already weak roster by jettisoning Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen at the deadline, will struggle not to give up 35 first quarter points in each game for the rest of the season. The Sixers current roster includes several players you will never hear from again after April.

Obscure NCAA men’s hoops trivia: Where did the following guys play college basketball?

Hollis Thompson, Elliot Williams, Arnett Moultrie, Brandon Davies, and Lorenzo Brown.

If you can name one of the five, you know more about men’s college basketball than I do. Actually, I don’t really know much about men’s college basketball at all.

5. The Cleveland Cavaliers¬†appear about as bi-polar as any NBA team at the moment, with no sense of chemistry or idea of how they might fit together. The Cavs have managed to stifle the positive impact of new arrival and incredibly selfless Luol Deng. According to the Hollinger playoff odds, Cleveland has a 3.3 percent chance of making the playoffs. Still, you have to admire the stubbornness of the Cavs front office in obtaining the sweet-shooting Hawes at the deadline. Kyrie Irving needs a few leadership lessons and Dion Waiters would have been traded if his reputation wasn’t already damaged. At 22-35, the Cavs are six games behind Charlotte and Atlanta for the 7th and 8th seeds (and a chance to get stomped by Indiana or Miami). Celtics fans should be grateful that Cleveland isn’t competing for the bottom.

6. The New York Knicks. Ugh. At 21-35, the Knicks are done. Carmelo will develop a mysterious injury in the next few weeks and miss the rest of the season, propelling the Knicks closer to the bottom. When Celtics fans start to get depressed, they should turn to the Knicks and Cavs for feelings of hope. At least the Celtics came in to the year with low expectations.

Lottery Standings

  1. Milwaukee Bucks 10-45
  2. Philadelphia 76ers 15-41
  3. Orlando Magic 17-41
  4. Boston Celtics 19-38
  5. Los Angeles Lakers 19-37
  6. Utah Jazz 19-36
  7. Sacramento Kings 20-36
  8. New York Knicks 21-35
  9. Cleveland Cavs 22-35
  10. Detroit Pistons 22-33
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