NBA Standings 2021: At Thanksgiving, the Nets, Heat, Bulls, and Wizards lead a tight East Playoff race.
The Eastern Conference of the NBA is as tight as it gets as we approach Thanksgiving. Eleven of the 15 teams have a.500 or higher record, and more than half of the league is just a game away from qualifying for the play-in tournament.
More than a fifth of the way through the 2021-2022 season, the Brooklyn Nets (13-5) are atop the Eastern Conference rankings. Brooklyn has recovered from a shaky start and the loss of Kyrie Irving to become the overwhelming preseason NBA favorites.
With 28.5 points per game, Kevin Durant leads all players. James Harden is averaging 20.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game this season. In their last 13 games, the Nets have won 11 of them.
The Nets were brutally defeated by the Miami Heat just before their hot run began (12-6). For the No. 1 seed, Miami is a game behind Brooklyn. The Heat are the only club in the East to have both offensive and defensive efficiency in the top five.
With a commanding head-to-head victory over the Nets on their CV, the Chicago Bulls (12-6) are also on Brooklyn’s tail. Chicago has the only set of teammates averaging at least 25.0 points per game in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
After a brief reign atop the Eastern Conference rankings, the Washington Wizards (11-6) have dropped to the No. 4 seed. Three of Washington’s last four games have ended in defeat, including two losses to the No. 5 seed Charlotte Hornets (11-8). Six of the Hornets’ last seven games have been victories.
The Knicks (10-8) are the current No. 6 seed and the final team in the most recent playoff bracket. New York has the same record as three other teams, but due to tiebreakers, they are all in the play-in tournament.
Now that they’re healthy, the Boston Celtics (10-8) and Milwaukee Bucks (10-8) are playing better basketball. Injuries and COVID-19 have plagued the Philadelphia 76ers (10-8) in the first few weeks of the season.
With so many games remaining on the schedule, the defending champion Bucks are anticipated to finish near the top of the East. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be a leading contender for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Since Evan Mobley’s elbow injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-9) have lost four straight games. Despite their losing streak, Cleveland is still in the play-in tournament, barely 1.5 games behind the No. 5 seed.
The Atlanta Hawks (9-9) have been on a roll lately. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.