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NBA Atlantic Race Tightening as Celtics Make a Move

How about the Boston Celtics? Many left them for dead when point guard Rajon Rondo went down for the season with a knee injury. Many surmised the Celtics would start dumping veteran players. But the Celts would have none of it. They promptly won seven in a row after Rondo went down. A check of the Atlantic Division standings has the New York Knicks on top at 35-20. Three games behind are the Brooklyn Nets at 34-25. Only 2.5 games behind the Nets are the Celtics at 31-27.

In the Eastern Conference playoff standings, the Celtics are still seventh. But they now trail the Chicago Bulls by only two games. The Celtics beat the Golden State Warriors on Friday 94-86. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points and Jeff Green added 18 points. Boston has now won 11 of the 15 games since Rondo went down in late January. If they keep up that pace they might win the Atlantic Division.

The New York Knicks beat an improving Washington Wizards on Friday 96-88. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points and Ray Felton chipped in 23 as they cooled off a hot Washington team.

The Nets suffered a crucial loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, 98-90 on their home court. Dallas is a sub-.500 team even though they won a title only two years ago. The Nets need to beat teams like them, especially at home if they want to take over the division from the Knicks. Perhaps even bigger was they had a chance to gain a game on the Atlanta Hawks in the race for the fourth spot. The Hawks lost on Friday to the Phoenix Suns 92-87.

Big games in the division this weekend include the Nets at the Bulls on Saturday and the Heat at the Knicks on Sunday. The Celtics are off until Tuesday when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers. Stay tuned as this race could go down to the final weekend of the season.

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