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Raise your hand if you saw this coming, basketball fans.
OK, put your hands down… if you had ’em up, you’re most likely fibbing.
Heading into the All-Star break, the best records in both conferences do not belong to either of the combatants who made up the last three NBA Finals.
Golden State and Cleveland, while still very much regarded as championship contenders, don’t occupy the top spots in the Western Conference and Eastern Conference, respectively.
Your Western Conference leaders at the All-Star break? The Houston Rockets.
Your Eastern Conference leaders at the All-Star break? The Toronto Raptors. pic.twitter.com/FKxuW7AEL7
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) February 15, 2018
That’s nothing new for the Cavaliers, who have been sitting in the third spot in the East most of this season. However, after Golden State bowed at Portland on Tuesday night, 123-117, the Warriors fell behind the Rockets in the West.
Houston, 44-13, has reeled off 10 consecutive victories to snatch the top spot from the Warriors, 44-14, headed into the break. Golden State, which trails Houston a half-game, is an un-Warriors like 6-4 in its last 10 games.
In the East, the Toronto Raptors have wrested the top spot from the Celtics. Toronto, 41-16, has won seven consecutive games and is 9-1 in its last 10. It leads second-place Boston (40-19), by two games. The Celtics, who were bounced by the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, 129-119, have lost three straight games, all at home at TD Garden, and are just 5-5 in their last 10 contests.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (34-22) have quietly won four games in a row, including the last two with The New 4 — George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. — all making excellent contributions. Cleveland trails first-place Toronto by 6.5 games, but has moved to within 4.5 games of second-place Boston. The Cavaliers are 7-3 in their last 10 games.