NBA Standings: Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat Keeping Pace With Cleveland Cavaliers in the East
We're almost halfway through this NBA season, and there's a tight race going on in the Eastern Conference. Right now the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are separated by just three wins.
The Cavaliers have been the No. 1 team in the East all season long, and they are looking to repeat as conference champions. The big theme in the East over the last few years has been the LeBron James factor. A James-led team has won the East the last five consecutive years. That's obviously not a coincidence. James is simply the best player in the game, and he has the biggest impact.
The Cavaliers defense has been fantastic this year ranking third overall in points allowed. Matthew Dellavedova is proving to be a valuable defensive player when on the floor. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson have created an excellent front court that should lead a powerful postseason charge. With Kyrie Irving back, the possibilities are endless. Irving has had multiple injuries in his young career, but if he can stay healthy this year, the Cavaliers have a great chance at ending the 1964 professional Cleveland title drought.
Just three wins behind the Cavaliers lurks the Chicago Bulls. It's been kind of a roller coaster ride for the Bulls this season filled with losing streaks and winning streaks. The Bulls have won their last five games with a balanced squad. The future of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol remains in question, but for now, they have to just play out their current contracts.
Jimmy Butler is playing terrific basketball this season, and many Bulls fans feel as if this is now his team to run. For the fifth straight year, Butler has increased his scoring average per game. Some fans even believe he has surpassed James Harden as the best shooting guard in the NBA. The Bulls problem is they can't beat James in the playoffs. The Bulls are 0-3 in playoff series' when facing James. If they're going to win it all this year, they will more than likely have to go through James and the Cavs.
Lets also not sleep on the Miami Heat, who are an impressive 21-14 this year. Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh are playing a lot better together than expected, and because of their dynamic duo, the Heat rank No. 2 in the league in points allowed. Dwyane Wade is turning back the clock this season shooting an impressive 46 percent from the field. It would be great to see the Heat take on the Cavaliers or Bulls in the playoffs. If they can grab the No. 1 seed and get home court advantage, they definitely have a chance.
Without a doubt the Washington Wizards have been the most disappointing team in the East this season, maybe the entire NBA. The Wizards are a mediocre 15-18 this year, and they don't resemble anything of the last two seasons. You can expect them to be very busy at the annual trade deadline.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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