Still, the top four teams are some serious beasts.
The Magic (5-1), Celtics (6-2), Hawks (6-2) and Heat (5-3) each have cases as being the best team in the conference. (For now, we'll safely assume that the Cavaliers won't maintain their winning pace).
As reigning conference champs, the Celtics have shown through eight games that they're unwilling to hand that title over without a fight.
Which of their opponents, though, will prevent them from getting back to the Finals?
The Heat will take their second shot at the C's this week, after Boston handled the South Beach trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the season opener. The Heat have plenty of firepower but have sputtered a bit out of the gate, opening the team up to questions about chemistry and coaching.
The Magic, you may remember, eliminated the Celtics two years ago. That, however, was without Kevin Garnett, who was with the C's last year to take care of the Magic in six games. This year, the Magic have but one loss — but that came via blowout to the Heat. Clearly, there's some unsettled business within Florida.
Then, there are the Hawks. They burst onto the Eastern Conference landscape when they took the Celtics to seven games back in '08. Since then, they've become a formidable team, beginning this season with a 6-0 record. However, is their two-game slide an indication of things to come?
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