Cavs still the beast of the NBA East

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The season is still young and teams are gelling at different speeds but in the Eastern Conference the current season standings look much like last season with Toronto, Cleveland and Atlanta leading the Atlantic, Central and Southeast Divisions respectively.

Cleveland has the best record in the Conference, 8-2, and is one of only three teams yet to lose at home (5-0). Golden State (6-0) and San Antonio (3-0) are the others.

The Warriors, in fact, have not lost anywhere as their 5-0 road mark has the defending champions off to an 11-0 start. Eight of their wins have been by more than a dozen points and Golden State is 7-4 ATS. Their closest call was in their most recent game, last Saturday, when they overcame a first half 17 point deficit to win in overtime over Brooklyn, one of the NBA’s worst teams.

The Warriors outscored the 1-9 Nets 10-2 in the extra session to maintain their perfect record. And all this is being accomplished with coach Steve Kerr sidelined as his recovery from back surgery is taking longer than expected.

Also off to surprisingly better than expected starts are New York and Orlando.

The Knicks’ projected wins total was 29.5 but at 5-6 this is looking like a reasonably competitive team that has already given Cleveland a pair of tight games. Orlando has also started 5-6 with their win total pegged at 34.5.

At the other end of the spectrum is Philadelphia. The 76ers are 0-10 through Sunday but a more competitive 4-6 ATS. Five of their losses have been by single digits although those often resulted from fourth quarter efforts that made the final margins respectable.

Perhaps no team has been more of an early season disappointment than has been New Orleans. With a season wins total of 48 the Pelicans have started 1-9. Although Anthony Davis has missed several games the poor effort goes beyond the teams’ star. They are allowing a league worst 109.4 points per game – and none of their games have gone to overtime.

In addition to Golden State leading the Pacific Division, the other Division leaders in the West are San Antonio (7-2) in the Southwest and Oklahoma City (6-4) in the Southeast.

Through the first three weeks of road teams continue to dominate the pointspread results with a stellar 87-63-1 ATS record (58.0 percent). The OVER holds a 84-62-5 edge in totals. That’s 57.5 percent ignoring the five pushes.

Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.

Chicago at Golden State (Fri.): The Warriors are off of a game Thursday night at the Clippers while the Bulls last played in Phoenix on Wednesday in the first of a four game road trip. The road team won both meetings last season, which were each played in the season’s first half. Chicago is not as strong a defensive team as they were in recent seasons but the still have played six UNDERS and just three OVER.

A more deliberate pace may be their best chance to stay close to the high powered hosts and the Warriors are not a team to play against most nights. And the Warriors have also stayed UNDER in 7 of their 11 games. UNDER.

Atlanta at Cleveland (Sat.): Currently having the top two records in the East, the Hawks and Cavs were the top seeded teams last season when the Hawks were swept in four games in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Cavs.

And that was after Atlanta had taken 3 of 4 during the regular seasons. Thus Atlanta enters this game with something to prove, including that last season’s success was no fluke.

Atlanta was projected to fall from 60 wins last season to 49.5 this season but are on an early OVER pace. Atlanta does have an extra day of rest and catches Cleveland off an early revenge game Thursday night vs. Milwaukee, who dealt the Cavs only their second loss of the season last Saturday in double overtime. ATLANTA.

Toronto at LA Clippers (Sun.): Both teams are off to winning starts although Toronto has played the better basketball. The Raptors have a plus 4.9 points differential and are 7-4 ATS whereas the Clippers’ differential is just plus 0.9 with a 4-6 ATS mark.

There appear to be some chemistry issues with the Clippers who may still be smarting from the way they exited the Playoffs last season.

Toronto won both meetings last season, by 12 and 16 points, and are likely to come as short underdogs here as they end a 6 game road trip. TORONTO.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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