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Knicks, Celtics, Nets all early East contenders

Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen (20) and Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd (2) talk during a lull in the action in the second half of their NBA basketball game at the Garden in Boston, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Mavericks defeated the Celtics 101-97. Kidd made a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left for the win. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

AP

Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen (20) and Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd (2) talk during a lull in the action in the second half of their NBA basketball game at the Garden in Boston, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Mavericks defeated the Celtics 101-97. Kidd made a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left for the win. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Chris DiGeronimo, Sports Editor

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The NBA has gotten off to a quick start, and fan expectations have been flipped upside down. Teams that fans believed were tanking are suddenly good, and teams that were supposed to go all the way have hit a road bump. It is still early in the season, but right now anything can happen.

Local teams such as the Knicks, Nets, and Celtics have all come out hot start to start the season. The New York Knicks entered the season with all the drama surrounding trading Carmelo Anthony, and not getting anything of value in return. There was also question as to whether Kristaps Porzingis could actually be a legitimate superstar under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Those questions have all been answered because Porzingis has become the player every New Yorker dreamed he would be. He is averaging 28.9 points a game along with 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. The return on investment they received from the Anthony deal has come to fruition sooner than expected. Both Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter have been spark plugs for the Knicks over the first moth of the season. McDermott has played a nice bench role for the team so far, coming up clutch in three-point situations and putting people on posters with monster dunks. Kanter on the other hand has been the tough guy the Knicks have been missing for decades. He gets rebounds, plays defense, and is not afraid to stick up for his teammates when they are called out. The Knicks are currently 8-6 and are tied for the 6th seed. Most importantly they are playing as a team, which is something that was missing in the Anthony and Phil Jackson era.

The Boston Celtics suffered a huge blow during the first game of the season as newly acquired Gordon Hayward went down with a broken ankle. The Celtics were projected to be the number one seed coming into the season but after this injury, Bostonians had their doubts. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford rallied the team after an 0-2 start, and rattled off 13 wins in a row. The Celtics now hold the best record in the Eastern Conference and aren’t going to cool off anytime soon. Much like the Knicks, the Celtics have been playing team basketball and it is fun to watch. Rookie Jayson Tatum has been everything the Celtics expected, and second year player Jaylen Brown has come into his own. Under the veteran leadership of Horford and Irving the Celtics will look to keep getting better and maintain their stranglehold on the Eastern Conference.

The Brooklyn Nets got off to a quick start, and have shown some signs of resiliency. The Nets lost their starting point guard Jeremy Lin to a knee injury in the first game of the season and responded by winning three of their first five games. A few more injuries later and now the Nets stand at 5-9, which is 13th in the Eastern Conference. Coming into the season it seemed that the Nets had some decent talent on the court. They acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers in the Brook Lopez deal. They acquired DeMarre Carroll in another deal, and picked up veteran Allen Crabbe in free agency. The problem for the Nets is all the young talent they have hasn’t been on the court at the same time due to injuries. Once the Nets get back to full strength they should be a contender for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Until then, Brooklynites will have to endure the pain, but the future looks bright.     

               

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Knicks, Celtics, Nets all early East contenders