The Boston Celtics are top of the Eastern conference table but the Cleveland Cavaliers are just behind. The Celtics have played 33 games, winning 26 and losing seven. The Cavaliers have played 31 games, winning 23 and losing eight. There is still a long way to go before the NBA finals in May 2018 but it is looking like the Eastern conference championship could be down to the top two teams.
The Celtics ended a 16 game winning streak by losing to Miami Heat 104-98. The Boston Herald pointed out that the team’s offensive flaws were highlighted in the loss to the Miami Heat. After losing to the Heat, the Celtics beat Orlando Magic 118-103 and the Indiana Pacers 108-98. They have also lost to the Pistons (118-108), Spurs (105-102), Bulls (108-85), and the Jazz (107-95). However, the winning streak has kept them at the top of the Eastern conference table even with the Cavaliers mounting pressure.
The Cavaliers also had a 13-game winning streak ended by the Indiana Pacers when the two teams played against each other on Dec. 8, 2017. The Pacers outscored the Cavaliers by 106-102 with Victor Oladipo scoring 33 points including 6 three-pointers to help the Pacers win the game. But the loss to the Pacers has been followed by five straight wins for the Cavaliers making them second in the Eastern Conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Celtics 102-99 on Oct. 17, 2017, but one match does not tell the full story. The Celtics improved their game and managed to stay ahead of the pack even though coach Brad Stevens has insisted that the team is not as good as the 16 game winning streak implies. Stevens may be right because ESPN‘s offensive and defensive stats show that Cleveland is ahead of the Celtics.
In the individual stats department, the Cavs are also on top with LeBron James averaging 27.8 points and Kyrie Irving 24.2 for the Celtics. The Cavs also lead in rebounds with Kevin Love (10.2), assists with LeBron (9.3), steals with LeBron (1.39), blocks with LeBron (1.10), field goal percentage with LeBron (56.97), and free throw percentage with Jae Crowder (89.47). However, the Celtics are on top of the 3-point field goal percentage with Jayson Tatum (51.02) when compared to the Cavaliers Kyle Korver (44.83).
From the stats, the Cavaliers look like strong contenders for the championship because of their superior individual and team stats. LeBron James also makes a difference with his superior stats in key areas of the game for the Cavs. The Cavaliers and the Celtics meet on Jan. 3 and Feb. 11, 2018, but the most dominant team in the league and not in their meetings will guarantee a place at the NBA finals.