On Pro Basketball: Celtics and Grizzlies Are Good. In This N.B.A., That’s a Problem.

Entering Wednesday, five teams had winning percentages above .700: the Warriors (27-5), the San Antonio Spurs (25-6) and the Houston Rockets (24-9) in the Western Conference and the Cavaliers (23-7) and the Toronto Raptors (22-8) in the East, although the gulf between the Cavaliers and everyone else in that conference may be greater than it looks. Consider that Cleveland has defeated Toronto in all three of their meetings this season.


The Celtics big man Amir Johnson, left, was tangled up with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol on Tuesday. Some of Memphis’s cornerstone pieces have dealt with injuries in recent seasons.

CJ Gunther/European Pressphoto Agency

The Raptors’ problem is shared by other respectable teams like the Celtics and the Grizzlies, who seem condemned for now, if not forever, to being good rather than great in a league dominated by superpowers. There is only so much they can control.

Brad Stevens, the coach of the Celtics, said he would continue to seek improvement.

“I’m not even thinking about any other team,” he said. “We’re trying to be the…

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