When you look at the NBA Eastern Conference standings this season, it's really not fair. Many of the teams are looking for a playoff spot with a sub-par .500 record. Much to their dismay, they are all fighting for third place.
The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons are clearly the two elite teams in the Eastern Conference this year. By. Far. If they were in the Western Conference, none of the of thirteen teams in the East would make the playoffs, as of March 5. For as exciting as the Western Conference has been this year, with all of its crazy trades and new stars, the Eastern Conference is almost the complete opposite: boring and predictable. No offense to teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, but there is no way in hell that they will beat the Celtics or Pistons in a seven game series, let alone both of them. To be completely honest, I don't know who will come out of the East and go to the NBA Finals, but it will either the Boston Celtics or the Detroit Pistons. No what-ifs, it will be.
Last year, most Celtics fans were probably ready to pack it in and give up after a couple of horrible seasons; about eight months later the Celtics are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot in the first week of March. But don't think that Doc Rivers and his team are buying into that. He even went as far as saying, "this team hasn't accomplished anything yet," which is a good thing because it's true, the playoffs are what truly matter - just ask the Dallas Mavericks from last year.
There is no doubt that the Celts have the best trio in the league compromising of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, but in a long playoff series against a team like the Pistons depth may become a concern. It will be interesting to see if newly acquired point guard Sam Cassell can be more of a constant than current PG Rajon Rondo.
If you take a look at the Detroit Pistons roster, and that alone, it may surprise you that they are doing as well as they are, but the fact of the matter is is that they are getting it done (once again) this year. They have to have a sour taste in their mouth after letting LeBron James and the Cavs beat them in the Conference Finals last year, and they will be looking for revenge. The one thing the Pistons have over all other teams, especially the Celtics, is depth and veterans with lots of experience.
So maybe David Stern should just make a new rule for this year in the Eastern Conference and skip the first two rounds of the playoffs because when the Eastern Conference Finals roll around, in May, it will be the Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons. Chalk it up. I send my condolences to the rest of the East; better luck next year.