The latest NBA standings and scores for 2014 as of Sunday, Jan. 19 for the Eastern Conference, reveal the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat still the top two teams heading towards the season’s midway point. Both teams managed to gain victories last night, with the Pacers topping the Clippers in regulation and the Heat taking the Charlotte Bobcats to overtime, where LeBron took over to get his team the win.
The ESPN.com site reported on Jan. 19 that LeBron James registered 34 points Saturday night in Charlotte, leading the way for a 104-96 Miami victory. Forward/center Chris Bosh chipped in 25 points and seven rebounds, while Dwyane Wade sat out for rest. The game also saw the Bobcats’ point guard, Kemba Walker, lost due to injury after spraining his ankle in the third quarter. Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said, “He’s going to be out a while,” which could be bad news for a team that was sitting on the cusp of a playoff spot, with other teams trying to take it away. As of the current standings, Charlotte has dropped to ninth with their record of 15-25, just behind the No. 8 team in the East, the Brooklyn Nets with a 16-22 record.
Meanwhile, towards the top of the Eastern Conference standings, the Pacers continue to lead the way as the top team. They improved to 32-7 overall with a 106-92 victory over the Clippers in Indianapolis Saturday night. Paul George had 36 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a vicious dunk that has some calling it the “dunk of the season,” so far. George was able to pull off a one-handed windmill slam off a steal, just one play after draining a three-point shot, showing his continued emergence as one of the league’s newest superstars. That flashy exclamation point, which capped off one of the league's best players in terms of steals, also shows why the team is the top NBA squad overall defensively. Some might even say "defense wins championships."
The Pacers currently lead the Miami Heat by 3 1/2 games in the East, as Miami has a record of 29-11. The two teams will likely be vying for that top spot as the season winds down, and most fans and/or analysts expect these to be the last two teams standing in the Eastern Conference Finals for 2014. The only other Eastern Conference team that seems near the top is the Toronto Raptors with a mark of 20-18. The complete NBA standings can be seen here.