The Celtics look ready to re-assume the throne atop the Eastern Conference standings with just a little over a month and a half left in the regular season. The C’s have won four games in a row and have looked relatively unstoppable since coming back from a well-needed All-Star break rest.
The Cavaliers looked as though they were set to make a legit push for the regular season crown with all of the moves they made at the deadline, but they seem to be reverting back to their old, ugly habits on defense. The Cavs lost 110-103 at home to Washington last Thursday and lost again at home on Sunday, 110-94, to San Antonio. They rebounded with a 129-123 home win over Brooklyn Tuesday night, but their defense looked atrocious. Teams seem to already be figuring out the new-look Cavs, and that could spell trouble for Cleveland down the stretch of the regular season and, needless to say, the postseason.
Sitting seven full games behind the first-place Raptors in the standings, and 6.5 games behind the Celtics – this looks like a two-team rest in the East for the coveted No. 1 seed and home court advantage in the playoffs. Both the Celtics and Raptors desperately want home court, given that Boston needed its home crowd to lift it past Washington in a seventh game last season and Toronto relies on its home crowd more than just about any team in the NBA. The Raptors are an NBA-best 25-5 this season at home. The Celtics are actually better on the road this season at 21-8, and are just 23-11 at TD Garden.
The Celtics and Raptors will meet two times down the stretch of the regular season in what will surely prove to be pivotal games in the standings. Toronto visits TD Garden on Saturday, March 31 (7:30 p.m.) and Boston will be in Toronto on Wednesday, April 4 (7 p.m.).