Paul Pierce's Wizards take on Rajon Rondo's Mavs in Dallas tonight; potential NBA Finals preview?

OK, before everybody starts to freak out about that last part of the title, consider this: The Wizards are 22-8.  They're only 1.5 games back of the top seed in the East, and are tied for the fourth-best overall record in the NBA.  Last night Washington knocked off the previously 21-8 Rockets in Houston (oh yeah, and Paul Pierce scored 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting).

After they blew out the Celtics on Saturday, Brad Stevens said he thought the Wizards could win the Eastern Conference.  Yeah it's a long shot, and the assumption is it's going to be Cleveland or Chicago representing the East in the Finals.  But if Washington keeps beating quality West teams on the road and manages to stay near the top of the standings, don't we have to take the Wiz seriously?  Washington's odds to win the Eastern Conference currently stand at 7/1.

After pulling off the Rajon Rondo trade, Dallas has to be considered a serious threat in the West.  It may take them some time to gel, but the Mavericks should have all the pieces in place to make a serious playoff run.  The 22-10 Mavs sit just 3.5 games behind Golden State for the league's best record.  At the moment Dallas' odds to win the Western Conference are 11/2, and 9/1 to take home the title.

It's going to be weird watching Pierce and Rondo go head-to-head for the first time in other uniforms this evening.  Who do Celtics fans root for?  All I can say is that it's my dream Finals matchup for next June.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan