Dec 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (3) dribbles against Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 97-94. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Eastern Conference Standings Look Over

Dec 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) points at Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (not pictured) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As we inch closer and closer to that halfway mark for the season, it’s important to see who’s doing what as far as the Conference is concerned.  Right now, the Eastern Conference has been the brunt of many jokes to NBA people as there sits just three teams over that elusive .500 mark, which means winning more than losing.  I think this is just a blip in the radar of the Eastern Conference, and still believe more teams end up over that mark by the end of the regular season.

You can see how at the top it’s been the same two teams from the start.  Miami and Indiana are those top dogs in the fight. It’s looking like it could be that road to the Conference Finals for both teams.  Personally, I feel like the Pacers have to make it there or else this season is a complete bust.

Even just making the Conference Finals and bowing out in bad fashion could leave a bad taste in the mouth of this team.  You have to believe Miami is feeling that same way, especially when they seem to be a bit more chatty when it comes to talking about the Indiana Pacers.  The Heat, losers of two straight games, I am sure are feeling that as you know writers love to give out there “what’s wrong with the Heat” comments whenever they enter a small slump.

I am sure that’s the word around Miami right now with the past two losses to the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, two teams that were doing much worse than predicted.  Give the Nets some credit as they have found themselves in the seventh spot after looking like a disaster just recently.  It just takes a few wins in the Eastern Conference to get yourself in the right position.

I do find that the middle tier of this Eastern Conference could give some problems to the Pacer and Heat respectively.  The Pacers themselves have met the brunt of what Toronto and Atlanta can do.  Atlanta just a game ago gave the Pacers another nightmare in their city as the Pacers can’t seem to get any wins down there as far back as 2005-2006 for the regular season.  The Pacers were able to take care of business last year in the playoffs down there, but yet again, this regular season, it was a bad loss. An ugly loss. A loss that probably shouldn’t have happened when you consider how strong the Blue and Gold has been.

But those things find themselves appearing at times, especially since the Pacers were just finishing up a good number of games in days.  I would believe come playoff time, the Pacers get their act going, and put away any of those teams that sit right in the middle at this moment.

I don’t even think that bottom half of the Eastern Conference should scare you that much.  The Pacers have beat the Wizards by 20 and 27 in two games.  They have taken care of the Nets in three meetings already on the season with two of those wins by double figures.  Maybe the Nets put their game face on much more in the postseason, and you can get a fight out of them. But, the Pacers should be able to take care of business.

Right now, Charlotte sits in the 8th spot, but even that is not totally a safe place for them as Detroit, New York, and Cleveland all lurk right behind them.  I think the Pacers will have to keep an eye on who finishes there as I believe the Pacers will finish atop the Conference when it’s all said and done.  This team just wants that top spot in the Eastern Conference and with the 2.5 games lead right now, it could be a good shot they finish there.

Plenty left to be settled over the next 40some games, but you can see who the contenders are in this conference (Miami and Indiana) and who are the pretenders (everyone else in the East).  That is this humble person’s thoughts on the matter.

Who are your contenders and pretenders for the Eastern Conference?

1 Indiana   29-7 
2 Miami   27-10 
3 Atlanta   20-17 
4 Toronto   17-17 
5 Chicago   16-18 
6 Washington   16-18 
7 Brooklyn   15-21 
8 Charlotte   15-22 

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