USA TODAY Sports
New York is atop the Eastern Conference, and no one can stop the Clippers or the Thunder so far this week.
If you had the New York Knicks atop the Eastern Conference this late into December, you must be a psychic or crazy.
Yet here they are, holding the conference's best record at 19-6 and a game-and-a-half ahead of Miami. With an 8-2 record in their last 10 games, the Knicks are the hottest team out east. And though New York hit a bump in the road with a 109-96 loss to Houston on Monday—its first home loss of the season—the team rebounded nicely with a 100-86 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. The Knicks are now 2-1 against the Nets this season.
As for the Nets, a hot pick to contend in the conference, things haven't gone well. Brooklyn is 2-8 in its last 10 games and a full six games back of the Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Currently on a three-game losing streak, the Nets blew a big lead to Utah on Tuesday and lost, 92-90, then fell to New York at Madison Square Garden.
Also in the east, the Orlando Magic are winners of four straight. They beat Minnesota, 102-93, on Monday, then took out the hapless Wizards, 90-83, on Wednesday. But a lot of teams in the east are sinking. Philadelphia and Cleveland have lost five straight, Detroit has dropped six in a row, and the Wizards haven't won in a week. But nothing compares to Charlotte, which has lost 13 straight games. This week, the Bobcats narrowly lost to the Lakers, 101-100, on Tuesday, then fell to Phoenix, 121-104, Wednesday.
In the Western Conference, no one is beating the Clippers or the Thunder. Los Angeles has won 10 straight and earlier this week, they beat bottom-feeders Detroit and New Orleans. Oklahoma City is even hotter, with 13 straight wins, and victories this week over San Antonio and Atlanta.