NBA Power Rankings: Are the New York Knicks equipped to take down Boston Celtics?

Are the New York Knicks the second-best team in the Eastern Conference at the midway point of the season?

Minnesota Timberwolves v New York Knicks
Minnesota Timberwolves v New York Knicks / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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5. LA Clippers

I truly hope everyone got their jokes in when they had their chance because the LA Clippers have looked - and played - like a completely different team over the last few weeks now that they've fully integrated James Harden into the lineup. After losing their first six games after the blockbuster trade of Harden, the Clippers have gone 22-6. That includes winning 17 of their last 20 games. It's almost as if something clicked for the team on November 17.

Since that date, the Clippers have a top-5 offense, a top-10 defense, and a top-5 net rating. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been relatively healthy so far this season and the impact that Harden has made on this team can't be overlooked. All the noise surrounding the team has died down dramatically and they're looking more and more like a contender with every passing day.

Many may not want to admit it but the Clippers are emerging as a true championship contender in the Western Conference. If they can remain healthy, they have the talent to beat any team in a seven-game series.