The Boston Celtics are above .500, but they'll face a lot of tough opponents ahead as the Atlantic Division is shaping up to be one of the toughest in the league.
The New York Knicks have shown themselves to be the class of the league early, winning all of their games, and winning all of them by more than ten points. They're No. 1 in offensive efficiency, and No. 1 in defensive efficiency. Who knows if Carmelo Anthony will stay motivated on both sides of the ball all season, if the ball movement will continue to flow, or if Amar'e Stoudemire will be able to integrate himself into a team that has found a rhythm without him. But right now, the Knicks are a scary opponent for anybody in the league.
Behind them are the Brooklyn Nets, who have won four of their first six despite missing Gerald Wallace since the season opener, and then the Celtics, who will play against the Nets tonight. The .500 76ers, who have already beaten Boston, aren't shabby as well, although they have lost two straight with Andrew Bynum still at least month away. But in the early going, with one team still missing their centerpiece, it seems as if the Atlantic Division will provide half of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Boston is obviously built for the playoffs and doesn't pride itself on November, but their early play is that of a middle-of-the-pack team in a crowded division.
Here's how the conference looks early:
|New York Knicks||5||5-0||1.000|