No one man can carry a team like LeBron James, as Lindsey Hunter and the rest of the Pistons already know, making avoiding El Rey in the play-offs as long as possible key for the two main contenders atop the East.
The Cavs have been lightin’ it up lately, finally meshing like they did last year, and demonstrated their new cohesion last night, drubbing the recently resurgent Wizards. Cleveland has now passed Orlando and taken up the mantle as the third best team in the East in my view, though not yet in terms of record. While division winners are guaranteed a top 4 play-off spot in the NBA, fortunately they’re no longer guaranteed a top 3 seed. This means if Cleveland and Orlando play to the best of their abilities the rest of the season, Detroit, and not Boston, will have to deal with LeBrontourage in the second round.
Here’s hoping Cleveland’s current winning streak is for real, but not too real, or else basketball’s greatest one man show may derail both the machine-like Pistons and the Boston Three Party en route to a second consecutive NBA Finals appearance. The best scenario for Boston is that the heroic effort required of LeBron to get his team into rhythm and a decent play-off position will tire him out before the Celtics have to deal with those angry Ohioans.
Thus, the possible additions of veterans like Damon Stoudamire and Theo Ratliff may prove even more important, not only for their potential roles in the play-offs, but for their ability to spell Boston’s starters while giving the team a bonafied chance at maintaining home court advantage after game #82.